Teaching Kids the Importance of Charity

My kids are lucky. The only grand-kids on any side of their family, they get just about everything they could ask for -- and more. That's not to imply that they're spoiled -- far from it -- but they have so much STUFF.

Now that they're all old enough to understand the concept, I'm taking the next couple of months to teach them about giving back.

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It all started with a resolution I'd made -- "get rid of one thing every day for an entire year." Seems easy enough -- especially since half of the toys we have are busted, broken, duplicates, or just plain old not used.

So each weekend, we spend a good deal of time going through their toys, picking out the ones to toss and the ones who need to go to a new home. It's been a lot easier than I'd thought it would be.

Each item we collect, we talk about.

"Don't you think this should go to a new kid? Someone who might not have so many toys to play with?"

They nod solemnly, as they place each item in the bag of stuff for charity.

Soon, we'll be dropping off several carloads of stuff over at Goodwill, and when we do, I am going to use that moment as a time to reinforce why we give our stuff away. I think that this will help the younger two (3 and 4 respectively) to understand why we need to help others.

My eldest knows I run a non-profit, a website that collects stories of dark things (abuse, trauma, bullies, mental illness), which we pair with resources, and he's always so proud to write for us. He knows that through the power of his words, he's able to inspire others, to help people, and to create something much bigger. I'm proud of that and so, so proud of him.

I look forward to the day that we can volunteer our time as a family in a soup kitchen or for Meals on Wheels -- I want my children to understand the world; to inspire them to give to others.

We're off to a good start.

What are some other ways to teach kids the importance of giving back? Of helping others?

 

Image via ketrin1407/Flickr

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