Introducing Your Child to Charity
Teaching children to think of others and live beyond themselves is one of the greatest challenges faced by parents. Children, like most of us, are naturally focused on themselves and satisfying their own desires. Perhaps the greatest way to help a child overcome this natural tendency is to introduce him or her to acts of charity.
There are plenty of local and global charities, many focusing on causes you can support. Identify two or three that you believe in and then get yourself and your child involved.
Perhaps you can support a particular charity financially. Your child can help you prepare your donation for mailing or drop it off at the charity in person. As you do, talk with your child about what you are doing and why it is important.
If the charity provides the option to designate your financial gift—such as purchasing items from a gift catalog to send to a village or a family in a third-world country—allow your child to help specify the gifts. Organizations like World Vision, World Hope, and Compassion International frequently offer this format for giving.
Filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child is another meaningful way to participate in charity as well as a way for children to help children. Each year, Samaritan’s Purse collects shoe boxes filled with gifts to be distributed to children living in impoverished nations. The effort is usually coordinated locally by a church, school, or community organization. Contact the local organizer or check online for specific requirements, then recruit your child to help you fill a box or two.
If you and your child would like to become a little more hands-on in your charitable acts, volunteer to serve at a local charitable organization. You can sort food donations at the Food Bank, paint a shed at Habitat for Humanity, or donate your time at a hospital or nursing home.
You and your child will both reap the benefits of charitable giving. You will experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from generosity, and your child will learn the value of thinking of others. Ideally, it will be just the start of a lifelong practice of participating in charitable causes.