Your Child the Charity Habit
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
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 unprecedented tragedy.
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.
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?
help your children acquire the habit of charity, consider implementing
as a family the strategies which follow.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 informed decision.
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.
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.
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 10
Commitments: Parenting with Purpose," (available from Personal
Power Press at toll free 877-360-1477, amazon.com, and bookstores
everywhere). They also publish a FREE email newsletter for parents.
Subscribe to it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit