Teaching Kids The Power Of Giving This Holiday Season

As a parent, there are many lessons you must teach your kids. You begin with basic life skills like getting dressed, tying shoes, brushing teeth, and potty training. And once your kids have moved beyond the walking and talking phase, it gets a little more interesting. Now you can begin to share your massive knowledge of the world. And believe it or not, your brain houses a virtual warehouse of information that your kids need to absorb, whether it’s seemingly simple stuff like the number of hours in a day, the number of days in a week, and the number of weeks in a year, or you’re trying to help them with their calculus homework. However, they’ll get a lot of help with these academics at school. Your true purpose as a parent is to give your kids lessons in life that will help them to function when they enter the world as adults. You must teach them to care for themselves, to know right from wrong, and to behave in a manner that is both safe and legal. But you also have to give them a sense of social responsibility and some measure of compassion for their fellow man. And there’s no better time than the holidays to pass on this important lesson.

In truth, most of us get so wrapped up in the demands and stresses of our daily lives that we can sometimes forget about the people who are less fortunate than we are. This doesn’t make you a bad person; we only have so much capacity to care for others before we must attend to our own needs, and your family is your first concern. But when the holidays roll around, a couple of things happen.

The first is that we stop our mad dash for a moment and give thanks for all that we have. What happens next, however, is not nearly so heartwarming. Many of us begin to spend money like it’s going out of style, gathering up gifts for our loved ones that they may not need or want simply because gifting at this time of year is expected. Some people put themselves into debt because of this perceived obligation. And the worst part is that this smorgasbord of giving really benefits no one in need.

So maybe this year it’s time to rethink your strategy and make the holidays a learning experience for both you and your kids. Consider how often you get gifts from your family and friends that you don’t especially want knowing they spent more money than they can afford. This year, why not give (and receive) a better gift by telling them to donate to a charity in your name, and you’ll do the same for them? You can still get gifts for the kids, but since adults mostly get what they want or need on their own anyway, put your money to better use (and stick to a budget) by giving the money you would have spent on the adults in your life to others in need. Everyone can feel good about such a gift and you can set a positive example for your kids. And, to get your children involved, help them clean out clothing and toys they no longer need or use to donate to charity. This way they can actively give (and make room for whatever they get over the holidays, as well).

You might also consider donating your time and taking your kids along if they’re old enough. Since shelters and soup kitchens are often thronged by people trying to help at this time of year, think about visiting a retirement home, a veteran’s organization, or a hospital to offer assistance, sing carols, and read holiday stories to the residents. You could even help the kids put together a holiday play to perform. Illness, injury, and old age are part of life, but when you get your family together to make someone else’s holiday a little brighter, everyone benefits – and you’ll show your kids the true spirit of the holidays.

So, what do you teach your kids? Do they know the power of giving?


Comments

Teaching Kids The Power Of Giving This Holiday Season — 16 Comments

  1. Good post Miss T! We like going to nursing/retirement homes around our area. It’s great for the kids as it gives us an opportunity to teach them about giving time and the folks usually love seeing smiling little faces.

  2. Excellent Post Miss T! We don’t have any kids but when I was young me mum and dad taught me about giving back in a couple of ways. One of them was helping the seniors on our street with their shopping or grass cutting or gardening and I rather enjoyed it like I do today. They told me that when I get older or when they get older we hope that someone knocks on our door to help us out. So I do that today now in Canada where I go and shovel the drives of people that I know that are seniors. It’s all about giving back. Mr.CBB Happy Holidays Miss T!

    • Great story. Every day things sometimes have the biggest impact on people so helping them really is rewarding. I am glad to hear you have carried on the spirit of giving in your adult life. Many people leave it behind. Hope you have a happy holidays with your family.

  3. Yes, I do worry about the commercialisation of this whole Christmas thing and am wondering how to give my youngest son the message that giving is not about buying rubbish; it is about giving what people need – some may need a toy, others a kind word…You are probably right that example and involvement may be best.

  4. Excellent reminder for us. My wife and I always do the salvation army bell ringing every December with our kids. It serves as a great chance to talk to them about helping those less fortunate than us.

  5. I am going to look into volunteering at retirement home. I love older people and I think it would benefit me and my daughter, so purely selfish reasons! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. This year, we are doing much more of this. Instead of purchasing our mother-in-law a birthday gift, she suggested donating to hurricane Sandy through Red Cross. We really liked this idea. This Christmas, instead of sending our family individual gifts, we’re donating toys to Spark of Love, an organization that distributes toys to under served kids. We feel we’re doing something good, not buying things people in our lives don’t need (I’m sure most people probably receive a gift or two that is pointless each year) and limiting consumerism. We hope to do more volunteer work in the new year as well. It’s a good feeling.

  7. Love this post! I don’t have kids yet, but I’m already working to build that eventual example I’ll set by giving back during the holidays and other times of the year (huge believer that these types of efforts shouldn’t be exclusive to the holiday season). I will definitely work to instill this type of value in my future children, and I hope to do this in tandem with teaching them that life is more than material possessions!

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