Raising Philanthropic Kids

7:09 AM

When children are young and haven’t fully developed the sense of self yet, they have this inclination to share, whether it’s toys, clothes, food or others. Diane Harris from Parenting Magazine tells CNN that, “all kids are born with an innate sense of charity and compassion,” essentially making them natural born givers. But as they grow up, their philanthropic instincts grow hazy as the world teaches them to work to their own advantage rather than focus on the benefits of the whole.

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Teaching the Concept of Charity

As parents, it’s important that we harness children’s untainted desire to help others, and despite some believing that kids won’t understand the concept of charity until they are much older, the earlier you teach them about donations and volunteer work, the better off you and your family will be. Family Whispering author Melinda Blau reminds us that the development of do-good characteristics that make life worth living begins at home, from generosity to responsibility and honesty. Instill these qualities in your kids at a young age and they will grow up with a greater awareness for others and better self-esteem, encouraging and helping others to be more like them.

Journey to Philanthropy

But where do we start on this family journey to philanthropy? Some families mistakenly start off in places like a soup kitchen which ends up being counterproductive as the job requires volunteers to move boxes around, be around knives and hot equipment. In addition, it would take much longer to instruct them than it would to orient the adults.

Starting Point

Your starting point doesn’t have to be as big or tiring as serving food to the homeless. Visiting local animal shelters that need people to socialize with their rescue animals is a great place to begin with your family. And if you don’t have the time yet to volunteer, something as simple as small donations to child welfare programs in third world countries will suffice, as this will expose your children to important societal issues beyond their immediate community. Numerous organizations are working in countries across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa to minimize local challenges in various areas of community improvement, trying to increase awareness of issues they're working by expanding into social media, so you have plenty of options of where to send your donations.

My Say

Whatever you decide as a family, there is no doubt that the experience will be rewarding for you and your kids.

That said, learning the true meaning of charity starts at home and in our own community

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