Hayley Matthews: I’m asking my son, what would Saint Andrew do?

Sharing is an important message to impress on children
Sharing is an important message to impress on children
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It’s that time of year when I start to look back and wonder, have I been a good person?

I think nowadays we place too much weight on how beautiful people are, how slim they are, how much money they have, who has the biggest car etc.

We should instead look at how beautiful a soul they have and disregard their more tangible wealth.

So have I been naughty or nice? I’ve been both, but I think more nice than naughty. I always strive to dish out random acts of kindness when I can. Offering to help struggling old ladies at the supermarket, providing lifts home, feeding the stray cats, that sort of thing.

I also do my best to teach my son to be kind, but requests to share shots of your electric scooter with the other kids at school often do not go down too well. He’s only five.

I need a hook, something that’s cool to get the message across to my son that a kind person can feel good about doing a nice thing for someone else. I need to find a way to create excitement about the idea, so that it’s a thing that ­everyone else is doing and enjoying.

At school, my son has been learning all about Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and he is fascinated by the story of the Guru’s legacy and kindness, so what better way to teach sharing than with the story of Scotland’s very own patron saint, St Andrew.

Apparently St Andrew was a ­caring, sharing, resilient and fair person, qualities I hope I possess and which I do my best to nurture in my child.

With St Andrew’s Day on 30 November and the internet urging us to #BeLikeStAndrew, I’m hoping to sell the story to my five-year-old of how our patron saint gave up his toys that he didn’t play with, to make room for the new ones at Christmas.

I’m sure St Andrew, with his kind and sharing nature, donated the odd trike, Skeleton Blast and Nintendo DS to his fellow children.

I know I’m adapting the story – slightly. However, you get the idea and the message is the same, and with the influx of plastic toys that arrive in my flat at Christmas, I’m desperately trying to make some space, whilst doing good and teaching my son to be a sharing, caring child.

So our way of being more like Scotland’s patron saint this year, will be to share our toys out with those who don’t have much and learn the true value of kindness. I definitely think it’s a trait we’re all born with.

However it is also one that needs nurtured before the mighty ego lands and takes over to tell you that you’re only a good person if you’re a millionaire by the age of 30!

World Kindness Day was held at the start of the week, so we really have no excuse for being a bunch of Scrooges this month. Even if you’re not rolling in it like the Kardashians, I’m sure we can all be a little kinder to each other.

The best bit of advice I’ve ever been given from my friend Gavin is “time costs nothing” – rather than “time is money”. It is very true, we all have time, it’s just a matter of deciding how to spend it.

For me, time certainly is one of the most valuable and precious things – in a non-monetary way – that someone can give you, so I’m using mine to bundle up all those wonderful toys and share them out with the kids who’ll get endless joy out them.