In any area of life, it’s important to teach young people the values that are important to you. In today’s culture, I have found that it can be difficult to teach children the values of giving and philanthropy. As kids turn to adulthood, the idea of giving time, talent, and treasure is often lost to the pursuit of education, hobbies, etc.
However, there is hope! Here are a few ways you can fan the flames of philanthropy for the next generation:
1. Help kids run with their ideas
Two years ago, my daughter read an article about a young girl stricken with cancer who had a love for American Girl Dolls. It prompted a thought in her mind: what if we raise money to give American Girl Dolls to cancer patients at our local children’s hospital?
At first, I dragged my feet. I was hesitant because I didn’t know how much time and effort it would take, etc.
But she persisted. So, I helped her set up a Go Fund Me page… and it took off. We raised $1,200 and purchased 9 dolls for our local hospital. It really made a difference! And she saw the power of helping people first-hand as she was able to deliver the dolls to the hospital.
2. Help kids understand that it’s not about the size of the gift
In my example above, it took a lot of people to get to $1,200. Even her little brothers pitched in with money from their piggy banks. It helped her to see the value in every donation – and the sacrifice of her little brother giving everything he had to the cause, even if it wasn’t “a lot.” It was a lot to her brother.
3. Help kids develop healthy money habits
Whenever our kids earn money, whether from babysitting, mowing lawns, etc. — we should encourage them to set aside a percentage of that money to give away. They should also be encouraged to set aside a certain percent for their savings account. Then they can spend whatever’s left over.
Hopefully this will form a habit of giving that will continue into adulthood. As they continue to discover their passions, they will hopefully think of others first.
This is certainly an incomplete list. But hopefully this can help your thinking on how to inspire kids in your community to give back. It’s never too early — nor is anyone ever too young to make a difference!