Giving is love in motion
When my son was a toddler and able to walk, albeit a little wobbly-ly, my Mom enjoyed taking him for short outings around the area. She would pack some snacks, his water bottle, and a toy, and they’d set off to explore. Of course they took the pram, but invariably he would be walking, holding on to it as my Mom pushed it, very slowly. He would stop to look at every little thing on the way. It was a fascinating world for him. He loved to stop and talk to anyone see saw, including the birds and animals. And of course, a child’s grin and outstretched hand is so difficult to ignore, eh?
He also had this charming habit of wanting to share everything he ate–with everyone, including non-humans. Always ready to give what he had. We were blessed to think we were raising a natural giver.
On his second birthday, he insisted we made sweets and distributed it to the Home for the Aged near our place…simply because he passed it every day and chatted with someone or other there. I remember we made batches of sweets and indulged him. Next he wanted to distribute to the people at the construction site nearby.
Considering how generous my Mom was, I am sure she was thrilled to see her grandson follow in her footsteps.
Fast forward 15 years, and he wanted to sponsor a child with the prize money he received from his school for being in the top three. I was so proud of him. Again, when he received another cheque in the 12th grade, he chose to donate it to our local welfare home for girls.
Raising a giver is one of the best things a parent can do.
And to give us a few tips on how to do this, I have Jenny here today with a lovely guest post on how to raise a generous child. Jenny and I first connected when she approached me with a question for one of her expert roundup posts, and thereon, we became friends.
Thank you Jenny! Here’s the coffee and choco chip cookies. Please feel at home!
5 Ways to Teach Your Child the Power of Giving
By Jenny Silverstone
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is kind of in a mess right now. Hate, hostility, war and suffering are realities, even if you can sometimes tune it out in your small corner of the world.
Can one person cure all the world’s ills? No way, but with a simple act of giving you can make a life-changing difference for one person quite easily. And your child can come on that journey with you.
Why a Child is a Natural Giver
Kids love to help others. They are naturally kind and helpful — think about how many times your child offers her “help” to you when you’re cleaning or cooking at home.
If you don’t tap into that tendency now, you risk your child losing it forever. Because, without some direction, your child might grow up to be as selfish as some of the entitled youth we see on the news or reality shows every day. That would be a shame — both for your child and the people he or she could have helped.
To help your child realize her maximum giving potential and make the world a better place in the process, here is what you can do.
1. Lead by Example
Your child is watching every move you make, whether you realize it or not. She’ll learn her behavior from you. If she sees you helping people, she’ll think of it as normal behavior and will be more likely to want to do the same.
2. Make It Age Appropriate
Talking to your toddler about starving children is too much. She might not understand, or you could even frighten her.
But an older school-aged child can benefit from knowing that not everybody has it as easy as she does. If she realizes the next time she’s eating her meal that some children don’t have food to eat when they are hungry, she’ll want to do something about it because it’s a problem she’ll sympathize with.
Another way to inspire them could be to show them a video of disadvantaged children making the most of their situation. For example, you could show your child a video of these kids playing soccer with an empty bottle. The lesson here being, it’s not about what, or how much you have, but who you share it with that truly matters.
3. Accept Her Help … Even When It Slows You Down
While kids may have the best of intentions, sometimes it can take way longer for you to do something with their help than it would take you if they were sitting quietly in the other room watching TV.
But don’t let that discourage you from accepting their help. Even small tasks can make a toddler feel like she’s done something big. You can ask her to grab her younger sibling’s pacifier for you, or you can let your child help you adjust your nursing pillow to the right position.
Those early, simple tasks will be the groundwork for future, bigger deeds like giving help to an elderly neighbor or leading a neighborhood food drive.
Whatever help she gives you, make sure to thank her and emphasize how her help made you feel.
4. Help Your Child Find Ways to Give
Every hero needs a cause. A child may want to give but might have no idea how to go about doing it. That’s where your guidance will be invaluable.
You can show her ways she can help. Let her select something from your cabinet to take to the local food pantry. Tell her to go up to another kid who is playing by herself at the playground — giving isn’t always about helping in obvious ways. Sometimes giving your friendship to someone who truly needs it can have a butterfly effect upon the world.
5. Don’t Expect Too Much
While you should encourage your child to give as much of his time, kindness and resources as she wants to, you don’t want her to feel like she has to do it 24/7. That can be exhausting, and it’s unrealistic. Sometimes kids are selfish and think solely of themselves — just like adults do. That’s a normal part of her development. Don’t make her feel bad about it.
If you don’t give freely and willingly, there’s no point to it. In your quest to raise a giving child, you might be burning her out. It’s okay to give a gentle nudge here or there, but let her set the pace on her charitable and helpful deeds.
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