When my friends at The Motherhood asked if I’d write a post about #GivingTuesday and share a little about how I go about teaching children the importance of giving back, I had to agree. How could I not? Giving back to others and paying things forward is something we place a lot of emphasis on in our family, and we’ve worked hard to try to get our children to understand the importance of, participate in, and hopefully one day, fully embrace the importance of helping others. (In exchange for writing this post, The Motherhood will be sending me $100 that I’m able to donate to a charity of my choice. I have already sent that money to Hawkwing.org along with many, many of the toys and games and fun products we’ve been sent throughout the year).
Teaching kids about the importance of giving back can be simple or complicated. It can be all serious, and it can be fun. It’s really what you make of it.
1. Lead by example. This one is easy – kids learn a lot by our example. When they see us giving back, they learn it’s important to give back.
2. Involve them. We talk to our children about the realities others face in the world. We don’t want to scare them, but we also believe it’s important for them to understand not only all of what we as a middle-class family have, but what others don’t have. Understanding when they get cold and can run in a warm house to warm up- that others may not have it- that matters too.
3. Encourage them. Talk to your kids- they may have some amazing thoughts and ideas about what they’d like to do to give back. Given the chance to come up with their own ideas, your kids might surprise you! One little girl was very sad about her friend passing away from cancer that she started Crayons for Cancer to help raise money for the families of the kids with cancer!
4. Let them. My kids understand sales and coupons- they may not fully understand what it means, but many times they’ve seen a sale for buy one get 2 free and tell me , “Mommy we could buy one for us and share 2 at church for the food bank.” Lately, with the cold spell we’ve been having, both of my older two have asked me if we can get some really warm mittens for some kids to have warm hands when they have snowball fights this winter. That’s a hard request to refuse- and I won’t.
This year, we’ll be taking part in #GivingTuesday. This year, and every year we’re able.
#GivingTuesday™ is an initiative to start the giving season and we encourage everyone to be involved with it. However, to be an official partner, you must be a registered non-profit [a 501(c)3 in the United States] with a specific #GivingTuesday initiative, or a for-profit business, school, religious or community group who commit to spearhead a project that will benefit at least one registered charity or non-profit. Families and individuals are encouraged to be generous in whatever ways matter to them, whether that means volunteering at a local charity or donating to a favorite cause. Please read our Terms and Conditions for more information.
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— Brett Martin (@brettbmartin) November 25, 2013