I’d love to give my children everything they desire but at the risk of winding up with horrible spoilt brats, I won’t be doing that. Saying no is as much for my children as it is for me.
I want them to grow up understanding that our priority is our loved ones and the accumulation of things is not. I want them to know that to achieve in life requires their effort, helping others and being appreciative of all that they have.
It is hard to understand that there are many less fortunate than us if you have never walked in their shoes. While we may not be ready to allow our child to spend the night on the street, without a meal we can give them the opportunity to help those less fortunate.
6 lessons in being charitable
1. Give your time and effort
- Identify the charity that resonates with your family and your child:
- Volunteer & help at the charity that you are passionate about – let your children hear you talking about the volunteer work you do, and take them along to the events.
- Teach them by showing them.
- Your child’s school probably has charity days or events. Encourage your child to participate and get involved in their school charity program.
- Inspire your child to volunteer.
- Join a charity group in your area like kidsareheroes.org or kidsgivingback.org, which serves multiple groups in need
2. Emphasise those less fortunate than your child
- Talk about those less fortunate than you and ask your kids to suggest how they can help. A car wash, a cake sale, selling chocolates, put on a show, hold a tea etc.
- Discuss people’s basic needs for food, clothing, blankets etc. (especially in time of natural disasters). Have all family members raid their wardrobes for things that can be given away.
- If possible offer to match your child’s collection
3. Get active
- Register to run/ walk as a family in a local charity event – you will be enjoying family time and exercise.
- Ask friends and family to sponsor your efforts
- Participate in recognised charity events like (“Movember”, Daffodil Day etc.)
4. Be generous
- Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations are an excellent time to raise money for others in lieu of receiving a gift.
- Help your your child to nominate the charity, ask them for suggestions or help them do some research to find their preferred charity.
5. Direct contact
- Elderly people really enjoy the company of little ones, find out if there is an aged care facility that your children can visit and support.
- Volunteer to sing at the Children’s Hospital, the aged care facility, etc.
- Visit and play with animals at the animal shelter
- Volunteer to help a neighbour, (sweeping leaves in autumn, taking out the trash etc.)
6. Charity begins at home
- Lead by example, focus on your family and loved ones first and then find the time to make a difference in other people’s lives.
There is no guarantee where life will lead us, but teaching our children to care for themselves and for others is an invaluable lesson that will grow their sense of feeling good about themselves because helping others is good for the soul.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Theresa
- www.parents.com/parenting/money/donate-to-charity/9-ways-to-teach-your-child-about-charity-/?page=3, accessed 21 March 2014
- childparenting.about.com/od/socialdevelopment/a/charitablechild.htm, accessed 21 March 2014
- www.bethkanter.org/kids-philanthropy/, accessed 21 March 2014