Teach Your Children Well... Mentoring Means Modeling

Every day, American children are inundated with messages about must-have toys, computer games, designer-label apparel, and more. In a "me-centered" culture, it can be quite a challenge to educate children about the needs of the less fortunate in our neighborhoods and around the world.

If you believe as many do that giving is not an option, make charitable giving a priority and give your children a new awareness of the world and their place in it. Cultivate in them a sincere sense of gratitude and appreciation for what they have. 

Five Suggestions For How to Raise Charitable Children:

Expect Your Children to Give

Start with you. Set the giving standard and watch to see if your child rises up to meet it. Children of all ages typically respond well to reasonable yet challenging expectations.

Show Them What and Where You Give

You may find this tough to do because we are usually taught from a young age to be very private about our giving. However, mentoring means modeling. Dare to show your children what you give and where. Talk about why you give and how you chose those charities. By introducing your children to good charities and by sharing examples of giving, you will encourage them to trust you and to develop their sense of team spirit.

Match Their Giving

When you match your children's giving, you begin to understand what touches their hearts and your child discovers what you value through your giving. Remember that training children to give away your money—even effectively—is not the same as encouraging them to be givers of their own money. However, during this time when you are modeling and training, you are preparing your children for when they will ultimately make personal giving decisions for themselves.

Take Them With You on Visits to Charities

You may be surprised just how much children learn from being with you during your visits to charities. Being exposed to the work can open a child’s mind to a variety of ideas and conversations, and give children experiences to think about for weeks to come. In time, they will want to go on their own, and they will know what to look for and ask about.

Celebrate Their Giving

Find ways to catch children in the act of giving. Let them know you notice and approve of their giving. Keep a light attitude and an accepting countenance. Remind them that giving is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Keep in mind it's important to talk with children about making giving a life-long habit, rather just an isolated holiday activity. By making generous giving an ongoing habit, if only in small way, you are moving your child towards a compassionate way of life that they will carry with them—even perhaps to your future grandchildren. 

By:  Dan Rice

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