How to Teach Your Kids to Give

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 How to Teach Your Children to Give - Marty's Musings

We may have just come through the most jolly season of the year and a retailer’s dream, but do you feel like you’ve just survived the apocalypse and your family priorities are all out of focus?

Let’s face it. None of us were born naturally generous. I have my first grandson now and believe me, when he wants something, he wants it now!

As a mom to both teenagers and young adults I wanted to share a few tips on how to teach your kids to just give from the heart.

Model the behavior you want to inspire

Our children learn to give from seeing it modeled. My children need to see me applying the principles of selflessness and generosity in daily life both within the home and outside these walls. Even though I love a good conversation I have to remember that my kids will model my behavior and not just my words.

If you know that you have been given many financial, physical or emotional blessings during the past year you may want to consider some of the following suggestions for gaining even greater satisfaction and enjoyment in the new year.

Family Blessing Jar - Marty's Musings 

Give of your resources

Have you heard of pay it forward? The idea is to perform a couple of good deeds for others without asking for anything in return. Instead the recipient should be instructed to pay it forward to someone else in need. The website explains all about Pay It Forward Day:

“So why Pay it Forward?

  • To encourage all of us to embrace the incredible power of giving.
  • To show each other that we care and that there is love, hope and magic all around us.
  • To know that we may be only one person in this world, but to one person, at one time, we are the world.”

The first of December our local newspaper publishes a list of charities and their wish lists to help readers pick a good cause to personally support. From children’s groups to musical organizations and churches there is something for everyone. Do some research and find a needy charity in your own hometown.

Our church selects local families in need of assistance at Christmas time and our family purchases items from a list we are given. No names are provided so the gift recipient and the giver remain anonymous. Contact your schools and find out ways you can help families in need.

Does your favorite teacher need one more coffee mug or chocolate bar? Probably not, so think about donating educational materials such as reading books, pencils and paper for your child’s classroom.

Can you donate money to the local homeless shelter to help with purchasing blankets and toiletries to help this population in your community? It seems like my children and I are always passing someone asking for money on the street corner. We usually don’t want to give cash because we don’t know if it would be used responsibly. Instead, the last time we were at the grocery store my son picked out some food items to keep in the car to share with those we might encounter. You could also keep food vouchers handy for your local fast food restaurant.

Teach Your Kids to Just Give - Marty's Musings

How else might you pay it forward? Maybe the next time you drive through a fast food restaurant you can ask the meal cost of the car behind you and take care of their bill. Have the cashier tell them to pay it forward and do something good for someone else.

Give of your time

Maybe you have more time than money. Consider visiting a nursing home in your community. Giving a smile and a few moments of your time will brighten up the residents in ways you cannot imagine.

Teach Your Kids to Just Give - Marty's Musings 

Know any young families who might need a break from their kids for a little Christmas shopping and date night? I remember how strapped we always were when our children were younger. Babysitters are costly so volunteer to help out a family with an investment of time.

Maybe you want to support the military which sacrifices so much for our freedom. Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas.

Is there an elderly resident in your neighborhood that could use assistance with outdoor work or house chores? Your contribution will often be the best part of their day and a way to give without expecting anything in return.

Set aside some time this year to spread the holiday cheer and count your blessings!

Think of any ways I missed? I’d love to know! 

This post previously appeared at ForRent.com. For more details please visit the ForRent.com blog.

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