I am always so amazed that is the same time each year that I find people asking me for suggestions for raising philanthropic children. As a result, I share this post once again as refresher for all, holidays or not.
While my sons are far from the poster children for philanthropy, they certainly do a lot to help others. I am proud that each of our sons has found different ways to give back and share the gifts that they have been given. My oldest has a passion for serving inner city children. His younger brother is now supporting ALS with his fraternity. The youngest, at 14, is still finding his way but a few adventures to various non-profits throughout LA have his wheels turning.
Each year at Thanksgiving, we sit down as a family and decide what our family will do this season to help others. We have adopted soldiers for a year, adopted families over the holidays that could not have Christmas, we have wrapped gifts at local Childrens Hospitals and voted on which non-profits we want to support. Each person trying to convince the others why their cause is most worthy.
The reality is that there is no simple answer to this question and that raising charitable children is an ongoing process. I read an article recently that said role modeling philanthropy is simply not enough. The article referenced a new study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. The director, Debra Mesch, said “the research showed that talking to children about giving increased by 20 percent the likelihood that children would give.”
I have shared these tips with you each season but they are always worth reviewing.
Here are a few tips to remember as we approach the season of giving:
Six Tips for Raising charitable children:
- Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
- Talk to your children about what causes interest them and bring causes to their attention.
- Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
- Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
- Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
- Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.
Benefits of raising charitable children:
- Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
- Develops empathetic thinking
- Fosters an appreciation for what they have
- Enhances self-esteem
- Correlates to improved performance in school
While this topic is relevant for the holidays, it is important to remember that giving does not just happen once a year. Teaching the gifts you receive from giving should be a part of the year, not simply the season. Once your children feel how great it is to give, their lives will forever be altered in wonderful ways.
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