Today was my sons first day back to school. Along with the traditional photo-op on the front porch, the new shoes and sharpened pencils comes another opportunity. One more year to think about how to plant the seeds of compassion in my sons. What are a few ways to get them thinking this school year about ways to help another?
1. The first suggestion is to ask your children what they think they can do. You will be shocked and inspired by their ideas. When I asked my high school son his plans for philanthropy this year, he responded that he was going to continue reading to low-income students who struggle at Reading Partners, his adopted cause. It is a wonderful organization where you commit to one or two students a couple of times a week and make real one and one impact.
2. For my younger son, he prefers the team approach. Like all good ideas, especially involving kids, they are usually best involving friends. Get a group together and make a plan. It can be as big as adopting a low-income school with your school or as small as creating a back to school backpack stuffing party for the local family homeless shelter in your neighborhood. He will do anything if it involves a team effort.
3. Find out what the school has planned and encourage your kids to get involved. If the school doesn’t have a philanthropy, suggest one. One of my favorites is Grades of Green. Grades of Green is an amazing organization that teaches children how to make their schools greener and be environmentally aware of simple things that make a universal impact. In addition to being a great organization for any school or team, they also have a new Youth Corp for future environmental leaders.
There are so many ways to plant the seed of compassion in your student. Once that seeds takes root, it is up to us to nurture and develop all the wonderful possibilities that go along with new pencils and a new year of possibilities.
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