12/14/13

Teaching Children The Art Of Giving.


The holiday season can get very busy and a bit crazy. This time of year not only do you have your normal responsibilities but you have all the holiday preparations to tend to. It is real easy to get caught up in the commercial side of Christmas as well. On Saturday mornings commercials between cartoons flood children's minds with what is shiny and new. There is nothing wrong with wanting a new toy or item, but some parents want more than that for their children. They want to create a lasting memory and guide their child towards a life of philanthropy. A philanthropist is someone who promotes the welfare of others. 

I really credit the fact that my sons are very passionate about nature and wildlife because they watched their parents donate time at the local shelter, donate money to help feed hungry animals and rescue abandoned animals. My youngest son Josh has a special touch with younger children. In his tween years he left public school and we homeschooled him the rest of middle school and high school.
We wanted him to not only learn the required curriculum but more importantly learn life skills. During this time my brother and his wife had their second child. I knew since we were not having any more children and Josh wouldn't have exposure to younger siblings this was the perfect opportunity to learn child rearing skills. Once a week Josh and I would take care oh his baby cousin Tanner. I really believe this paid off. Josh will make a great dad when the time comes. The point I'm getting at is our children learn but watching what we do and by being included. This holiday season and into the new year I encourage you to teach your children by your actions demonstrating how to pay it forward and give from the heart.

I've listed six simple ways to give back. Use your judgement for what's age appropriate for your child. Be sure to explain and talk through the giving activity you choose to do with your child.

Six Simple Ways To Give Back.

1. Together go through your child's toys. Ask them if they have a couple toys they would like to give or donate to a child who wants a new toy. Then donate them to a local charity collecting toys or look for a second hand store that takes donations to sell to raise funds for local charities.

2. Call a local animal shelter to see what they are in need of most right now. Most times beyond the consistent need for food they could use blankets, towels, toys and treats. Gather up a few used items and take your children with you to deliver them. Spend a little time petting the animals that are approved for petting. If your feeling really inspired put a shout out on Facebook and other social sites about the items your local shelter is in need of. 

3. Have your child pick out five canned goods out of your pantry then drop them off together at your local food bank. If your grocery store has a donation collection can available you could have your children pick out a few items to purchase to donate. To make it even more special you could provide your children with the opportunity to earn a few dollars by helping around the house or assisting grandma or a relative with the purpose of using their allowance for purchasing items for the local food bank.

4. Do you have a local store that has a giving tree? A Christmas tree full of names of people and the items they hope to receive this holiday season? With your child pick a name and purchase the items, wrap them and return them to the requested place.

5. Do you know someone who has a relative who is in the military stationed overseas? Create a handmade card, bake some cookies and send a care package made with love.

6. Limited on time but really want to demonstrate the spirit of giving? Check out Microplace or Kiva. Give by combining forces with other people pitching in on financing micro loans. Loans that help send children to school in a third world country or help a mother buy a goat to be able to provide milk for her family. This is also a fun math opportunity. The really cool thing about these micro loans is they are paid back over a period of time, then you and your child could pick a new person on the list to invest in. As little as ten dollars can give over and over again changing lives!

What other ideas do you have? Does your family have a giving tradition?
Happy Holidays, Carol Lawrence


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