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The "Giving Back" Mindset

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
I've been lucky enough to have been raised in an environment where I never felt obliged to "give back" to family. There were never statements like, "You need to study so you can give back and help our family" or "We raised you, so you need to give back to us." I was always taught to work toward my desired future, and to think selfishly sometimes. Of course, I was taught to never take anything for granted, but the concept of obligation to owe family was never introduced to me.

I understand that it's not the same for others, and to me, I feel as though planting that idea in the child's mind isn't entirely a good thing. 

I have friends who are working hard so they can give back to their family. I've asked some of them why they do that, and most of their answers are along the lines of, "My parents expect me to." Recently, I talked to a friend who told me that her family doesn't appreciate her efforts even though she's doing everything for them. It would seem to me that their families have placed so much pressure on them to give back to their families.

It's part of the Filipino culture to stick to family and always provide for them, even if those "family members" aren't even directly related anymore (lol). Children are expected to provide for their parents needs, and some are even pressured to send younger members of the family to school. While it's important to care for family, and yes, it's good to teach children to be humble and never be ungrateful for the things and people that helped them get to where they are, I don't think that pressuring them is the way to teach them those morals.

If someone is constantly being reminded to give back, he'll do this for that purpose primarily. His drive is toward the fulfillment of that obligation, when it should actually be his future he should be working on. His life will now be family-centric, to their needs, to their wants, and to their never-ending wish to be given back to. It makes you wonder whether his efforts are toward anything truly personal at all. And what happens when the kid feels like he can't give back? He gets pressured even more. The family comes after him, and then he feels as though he has let them down, and that he has committed a great sin.

But it's not a sin. The child was never brought into this world to give back. He wasn't created to be imprisoned by that. I believe that no one is under the obligation to give back to anyone, but rather, everyone should have the skill to look back and be grateful, and it's up to them on how they're going to act upon that gratefulness. 

Instead of enforcing the idea of giving back to kids, parents could just teach them the importance of generosity. Of compassion. Of kindness. Forcing that mindset of giving back isn't as strong as making the child develop traits that can transcend through different areas in his life. 

Parents should encourage the child to make those decisions for themselves. If they were raised right, they will know the value of "giving back" without having to hear that over and over throughout their lives. Do not make them feel as though all their efforts are for someone else's comforts. It makes them feel like they're not working toward a future, but instead paying off a debt that's been there since they were born.

It might take a while for a society like this to understand my point, but I think that as soon as we stop pressuring kids to graduate and give back, the easier it is for them to find personal happiness and ultimately, that's what you'd want for your kid, isn't it?
5 comments on "The "Giving Back" Mindset"
  1. Money can really triggered people to do some bad things.But before judging we must know the story behind.

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  2. Usually, these cases happened to those who belong to uneducated households or better say this way an "unemployed" parents. I hope there's a law that can fix this thing up like preventing a couple from giving birth whose salary are not enough to sustain main necessities for kids. Well, am sure it's a wide argument.

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    1. Yup, but then again some people want to leave households to their own problems, but I just feel sorry for the children who have to go through those pressures.

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    2. It's inevitable scenarios, esp. when you were born unfortunate. Maybe the reason why that guy above me saying money is root of evil. Something is wrong with our system, I suppose. I sometimes fancy of adapting the Americans kind of way of living. When you're 18 and above you must be separated from parent's house & earn your own way. But it's sick. And I totally agree with your point. Parents must be accountable. And, yes, a little help from our government.☺

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    3. Sorry for making this more complicated. Let's say that I'm of the victim as whatever you mentioned above. I'd like to blame my people, but not the whole thing, if you capture what I really meant.

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