6 Powerful Lessons Your Kids Will Learn by Volunteering

girl volunteering at a marathon

Every year, my husband and I take our kids to the New York Marathon to cheer on the runners. This year, we decided to go further, signing our kids -- ages 8 and 6 -- as well as ourselves up as official volunteers.

As a family, we handed out hundreds of cups of water to people running through our borough -- and we sealed our belief that volunteering not only benefits others, but our kids as well.

A few important lessons kids learn by volunteering:

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1. It's not all about them: Let's face it -- kids can be a self-involved lot. When they volunteer, it brings them out of themselves and their everyday concerns and prompts them to recognize that other people have other (perhaps more pressing) concerns.

2. The world is full of diverse, interesting people: A few months ago, we brought our kids along to deliver food baskets to the elderly. We sat and talked to many of the recipients of the baskets, and learned so much about the amazing -- and amazingly different -- lives that people have lived. Inspiring.

3. We have so much to be grateful for: When we see the struggles of others and reach out to help, it helps us realize how lucky we are to have the things that we have, and be surrounded by love and support.

4. They have the power to help: Our children clearly feel deeply empowered to be able to do something that makes a clear difference in people's lives. How many opportunities does a kid have to do something so important for someone he or she may not know -- to see a grateful smile and receive a heartfelt thanks?

5. Someday someone may help them: When kids help others, they may recognize that, if they need it, someone may be willing to help them someday. It can provide an important sense of security as they make their way in the world.

6. Community is important:
Our world extends beyond our homes and our families. We are responsible for helping our communities -- and the people in them. Kids are never too young to learn this.

Do you volunteer with your kids?

 

Image ©iStock.com/asiseeit

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