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Raising Philanthropic Children 2018

” You are never to young to change the world.”

Author unknown

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak to a room full of elementary school principles on the topic of fostering empathy and service in students. As I spoke to principles I recalled my own kindergarten teacher who asked that we bring in pennies for the poor, no longer politically correct but this was the 1970s. Our teacher gave us lollipops for each penny, so I’m not sure how pure my motivation was but Mrs. Thompson planted a seed in each of us. The goal as parents is to plant that seed and continue to nurture and cultivate it.

As parents today we have many challenges, especially during the holidays. We all walk the fine line of asking our children what they want, realizing that they don’t really need anything and all while trying to explain to them the real meaning of the season.

So the question becomes, how do we raise philanthropic children? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Start young, the earlier the better. For little ones (4 or 5), keep it simple, perhaps canned food for a local shelter or blankets for Hurricane Sandy relief. Something that they understand.

2. Be age appropriate. Don’t overwhelm young children with world hunger but rather something relatable to them, perhaps something local in your community.

3. Engage your children in the process, especially the older they get. Find out what they care about? Perhaps they love animals and want to support a local shelter? Have them use their passion to make a difference. Catch them where they are and meet them there. Your children’s service choices will evolve as they do so be flexible.

4. Research together and suggests a few choices. With 1.7 million non-profits it can be overwhelming for all of us. Our family usually picks 3 or 4 ideas and then we vote on a holiday philanthropy project. We have adopted soldiers, fed homeless, adopted inner city families for Christmas. Ultimately it is the kids vote that decides. Utilize tools like Project Giving Kids for age appropriate ideas.

5.  Be intentional with your own giving. Teach by example. Discuss what causes you care about. Let your children hear and see your volunteer efforts or participate in them if possible.

6.  Make giving habitual by being consistent. Whether its part of your allowance structure, a holiday tradition or something you do at birthdays, be consistent and establish giving as a tradition and habit. It’s no different from any sport, the more you participate the easier and more fun it becomes. Ultimately it becomes a part of who they are.

7.  Emphasize the joy and the experience of giving rather than money. Philanthropy is about being a part of something bigger than yourself. Giving is so much more fun than receiving. Make it a joyful experience for your family and something you share in together. Perhaps, start with entering a 5k walk or charity run or volunteering together.

The benefits of philanthropic children: 

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. Correlates to improved performance in school

Like everything we do with raising our children, it takes time , patience, consistency and love.  Chances are you already do most of these things and don’t even realize it and your children do too. This holiday season, enjoy the process of giving in whatever way you decide to participate. You and your children will experience the real joy of the holidays….together.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Raising Philanthropic Children

Raising philanthropic children 2014

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:

  1. Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
  2. Talk to your children about what causes interest them and bring causes to their attention.
  3. Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
  4. Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
  5. Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
  6. Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.

Benefits of raising charitable children:

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. 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.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Where do you come from?

grammy war bondsI love telling other people’s stories. I am a story-teller. The story that I usually don’t tell is my own. After returning from my family reunion there are parts of my story that I think need to be shared. And that is where I come from.

Each week I talk about these remarkable individuals who start non-profits and change our world, share about raising philanthropic children and all things inspiring. I had never really taken inventory of where or how I learned these skills…..until I took a look at those who had modeled these for me.

The photo above is a picture of my grandparents, aunt and uncle advertising that they used War Bonds for WWII. Even then they were showing their young children what was important and a way to make a difference.

My grandmother was a huge part of my life and was giving communion to “the elderly” when she was in her late eighties and “the elderly” were in their early seventies. She raised seven children who learned from her example and all of them have given of themselves through their profession or service in remarkable ways. My aunts and uncles are teachers, addiction specialist, psychologist, military counselors for returning soldiers, nuns and my retired aunt feeds the homeless daily. Each of them has used their gifts to help others.

As a result my cousins and I have all followed suit in similar ways. People always ask me how to raise philanthropic children and the answer became very clear to me this past week. Be philanthropic. It is not about telling them, it is about showing your children through your actions what is important. Using your time and gifts to make another’s life better is the best way to show our children what true philanthropy is.  It’s just that simple.

If you don’t feel you have done this yet, the beauty is that it is never too late to start. So take a look at your family tree and ask your self, “Where do I come from?” My guess is from some pretty remarkable people.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

The Chocolate Bar Book

chocolate bar boysSometimes inspiration comes from the craziest places. Yet, I continue to revel and delight when I am touched and inspired by loving acts of kindness and friendship. This story is as sweet as its name and the angels who created it.  This is the story of The Chocolate Bar Book.

The story begins  with two best friends, named Dylan and Jonah. These six-year-old boys are not exactly like average little boys because Jonah suffers from a very rare liver condition called Glycogen Storage Disease 1b. Dylan wanted to help his best friend find a cure for the rare disease and had an idea to write a book as a fundraiser.  He wrote The Chocolate Bar Book in hopes of raising one million dollars to help find a cure. “Chocolate Bar” is Dylan’s and Jonah’s code word for awesome, which is exactly what these two are.

 

To date these two pint sized wonders have raised over $200,000 and counting. Dylan’s hope is that his words and pictures will help change the world, one book at a time. I think he has already accomplished that goal. How sweet is that?

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

The Force of Giving

Max PageOn monday we discussed how to raise philanthropic children and  I thought today I would share with you one of the best examples I know. His name is Max Page.

I met Max because he and my son are both Junior Ambassadors for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  Max has been a patient at CHLA many times in his short 7 years of life for multiple heart surgeries. The world knows Max as little Darth Vadar but what everyone doesn’t know is how huge that little heart really is.

http://[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/53536378 w=500&h=281]

Max Page, Recipient of the Special Award for Charitable Works for Children’s Hospitals from American Advertising Federation on Vimeo.

Max’s parents Jennifer and Buck have guided Max and his little brother, Els, in doing things big and small for others. They have donated their birthday gifts every year, they participate in walks and runs for causes they care about and the entire family uses their voice to bring attention to causes they care about.

The Page family has taught by example the ripple effect of giving. They realized that the force comes from combining caring with action and that we all possess it. I hope the force is with you and your families throughout this holiday season.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Raising Philanthropic Children

I recently attended a great talk entitled “Raising Philanthropic Kids” given by Julie Lytle Nesbit of Whittier Trust.

It was so fantastic that I wanted to share some of it with you here.  As the holidays are quickly approaching I thought this message of teaching our children how to give was especially timely.

The benefits of philanthropic children are according to Julie:

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. Correlates to improved performance in school

Six Tips for Raising Philanthropic Children:

  1. Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
  2. Set an example by showing your children that Charity Matters.
  3. Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
  4. Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
  5. Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
  6. Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.

So enjoy this season of giving and make sure to show your children all the good you do. Nothing feels better than to give and make a difference, especially in the lives of your own children. That is Charity that Matters!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.