by Rachel Paxton
Giving with a happy heart. If you teach a child to give with a
happy heart you will raise a child who will never hesitate to
lend a helping hand. Children enjoy helping others, especially if
they see their parents doing the same. When a child's basic
physical and emotional needs are met, they are willing to share
almost anything they have with someone in need.
My daughter wanted to help others from the time she was old
enough to understand what it was she was doing. Before she was
old enough for an allowance she helped me go through
her outgrown clothes and toys to give away to charities. At
Christmastime we would shop together for needy families (she
looked forward to this as much as picking out her own gifts).
And this doesn't mean we weren't needy ourselves. When my
daughter was young I was a single mom working and going to
college, and I was barely able to make ends meet. What
little we had left over, however, we used to help others. I am
convinced that this act of helping others took my daughter's
focus off of our own circumstances and created a passion
in her for helping others. She always had food to eat and clothes
to wear--she did not sense a lack in her life and so was willing
to freely give anything she had.
As my daughter got older and started getting an allowance, she
started spending her own money. She spent her allowance on family
Christmas and birthday presents (however small), started tithing,
and started contributing to charities of her choice. My
daughter's allowance is relatively small, compared to some of her
friends, but that doesn't keep her from making contributions, no
matter how small, to people and organizations she wants to help.
Now that she's old enough to babysit, she has even more money to
decide what to do with. She decides what to spend on herself,
what to save, and what to give to others.
Our family recently came up with an idea of how we could work
together to save up some money to help others. I am forever
picking up loose change around the house, on the floor, in
the car, and in the bottom of my purse. We decided to start a
"Giving Jar" where we could deposit our spare change, and then as
the occasion arose, we would use it to help others. We all pooled
together our spare change and we already had more than $15. I
placed the jar on the kitchen counter and put a big label on it
that says "Giving Jar." It has motivated us all to save more and
is also a great conversational piece!
Don't think you have to have a lot of money to give others a
helping hand. Any amount, no matter how small, develops in your
child the gift of a giving heart.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home
decorating, crafts, and frugal family fun, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com and Suite 101 at
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