Teach Your Child the Charity Habit
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
Charity and the spirit of giving have been elevated
to a new level following the recent Asian tsunami. After witnessing
the horrific images of pain and suffering streaming steadily across
their TV sets, more people than ever before have dipped deeper into
their own pockets to offer needed relief to the survivors of this
Many parents are using the destruction delivered by
the disaster as an opportunity to help children learn about charity
and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need.
They have made generous family donations, often involving their children
in picking out the charity, writing the check, and preparing and mailing
the envelope. They have allowed their children to witness turning
the pain and grief of unimaginable loss into a time of extending love
and compassion to unknown people half way around the world.
Clearly the recent tsunami provides an opportune time
to teach children about charity. But what if parents want lessons
about charity to be more than a one time occurrence? What if they
want the spirit of giving to be a way of life for their children?
What if they want charity to become a habit?
To help your children acquire the habit of charity,
consider implementing as a family the strategies which follow.
1.) Periodically go through your closets rooting out
clothes you haven’t worn in awhile, clothes to be given to the
Salvation Army or Good Will for distribution to the needy. Encourage
your children to do the same. Allow them to select which clothes or
toys they wish to donate. The value of this activity is diminished
greatly if you go through their closets for them without their presence.
For maximum benefit, get your children involved in choosing the appropriate
items. Take your children with you when you drop the items off at
the charitable destination.
2.) Regularly engage in a service oriented project.
Rake the leaves of an elderly couple. Bake cookies for a serviceman
or servicewoman. Bake bread and deliver it to the homeless feeding
station in your community.
3.) Give blood. Take your children with you so they
see you as a model for giving. Talk to them about why you choose to
donate blood and what you hope it will accomplish by doing so.
4.) Set up birthday parties as a time for giving to
others. At your child’s first school age birthday party, ask
guests to bring a gift of a book (new or used) to be donated to a
local charity. Talk to you son about the books he has and about children
who have no books. Explain that one way to celebrate a birthday would
be to give to those who have less. Involve the birthday boy in the
decision of whether not to give the books to a woman’s shelter,
a doctor’s office, or some other appropriate organization. When
you deliver the books with your son, record it on camera.
5.) At regular intervals, buy dog or cat food and take
it to the humane society. Allow your children to spend some time with
the recipients of the gift.
6.) Build food baskets around the holidays and give
to a needy family suggested by your church or school. Involve your
children is selecting canned goods, fruit and other treats to include.
Decorate the gift package and deliver it together, as a family.
7.) Create a charity jar to be used by the family when
allowances are distributed. Invite children to share some of their
allowance with others through donating to the jar. As the jar fills
decide as a family where to contribute the contents. You may choose
to save a whale, buy gloves for needy children, or contribute to a
cancer charity among others. Read about various charities on the internet
and share this information with your children to help them make an
8.) Do things for the elderly they have trouble doing
for themselves. Pick up sticks in your neighbors yard after a big
windstorm. Mow the grass for grandma. Wash grandpa’s car. Clean
their windows in the spring. Help them plant flowers.
9.) Get on a regular service schedule at your church
or synagogue. Sign up for a time to mow the grass and trim the bushes.
Take your turn ushering and allow your child to assist.
By implementing some of the ideas above or others like
them, you will be teaching your children that charity is not reserved
only for emergencies. You will be helping them appreciate that reaching
out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time
when a catastrophic disaster occurs. Remember, while you are giving
to others, you are giving your children important messages about your
beliefs concerning the spirit of giving.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The Abracadabra Effect: The 13 Verbally Transmitted Diseases and How to Cure Them. They also publish a FREE
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Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are two of the world's foremost authorities
on raising responsible, caring, confident children. For more information
about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs,
visit their websites today.