Like many parents, we work hard to instill a sense of the world in our children, and to teach them to do what they can to make a difference.
The topic of giving has been coming up with Bria a lot lately.
A cartoon she likes to watch occasionally called "My Big, Big Friend" has an episode where the characters gather up toys for a toy drive, and give them to children who don't have as much. Bria thought this was a great idea, and right away went to her toy box to decide what she could donate to the toy drive.
Another example came when my MOPS group decided to donate shoe boxes filled with gifts to Operation Christmas Child. I brought Bria with me to shop for a few gifts to add to the box, and she was very excited to be in a position to help. "We are giving toys to kids who don't have a Christmas," she told the woman at the register when we went to pay for the bits and pieces we had bought.
I had planned to sit down with Bria and allow her to put together her own box for the project, but time got away from me, and today was the day we were doing them at MOPS. So instead I brought her along to help put together the group boxes. I was so glad I did! She seemed to get a lot more out of discussing the project with the ladies at my table, and she got to help put together not one, but six boxes. She was like our little mascot, sitting in the center of the table and sorting things into boxes.
On the way home she was talking about the program, and then when she saw Daddy, she told him about it again. We are so proud of her!
A few years ago at Christmas, we gave the older children gifts from Heifer International. It was quite a beautiful blessing to watch their reactions and responses ad they learned about the program and asked questions about how their gifts helped. We will likely do the same with Bria in the future.
I wanted to do some research on ways to reinforce giving in our children, and the best ways to teach it. Of course, modeling giving behavior is the best option, but what else was out there? I was excited to find an entire system of lesson plans on teaching philanthropy! (Hello, is the internet awesome, or what?)
We will definitely be checking out Learning to Give more thoroughly - there was a LOT to digest there.
Here are a couple of articles on the topic, too:
9 Expert Tips for Teaching Children About Giving
Mom It Forward: Raising Giving Children
What have you done to help your child learn about giving?