Teaching Kids To Give

Giving has been an important seasonal theme in this space since I went online 7 years ago. With Thanksgiving next week, many of us have a great deal to be thankful for. But with the impact of Sandy still being felt by too many people, it’s hard to feel truly celebratory, especially since many of our friends and relatives are in those areas hardest hit. For them, they have a great deal to be thankful for but the holiday will be bitter sweet for sure. So much to celebrate as a new beginning but so much to still come to terms with.

We always try to help people in our own communities by giving to organizations that run local food banks and kitchens so families in need can have a holiday celebration, too. But, this year, I think it’s important to help all the families still displaced by the storm. What I didn’t realize until recently, though, is there are so many ways to help beyond just holiday giving. Did you know, for example, that many schools in the NY and NJ area are without resources for their students due to the storm? I learned that yesterday when a mom in our town sent around an email organizing a school supply drive for schools on Long Island. Many schools are still not operational and students in the area where she grew up are bussing kids to other schools that are in better shape. So, our town is coming together to help her out by using our schools and local events, like this week’s high school play, to put out boxes and collect school supplies for her to bring down next week when she goes to Long Island to visit family.

You can help in similar ways. If you know someone in NY or NJ, ask them what their area needs and organize a drive. Ask about schools and community centers.

In addition to donating goods, you can still give to the Red Cross. Here’s the link. This helps on a global level and helps anyone in need.

If you want to help out kids in need, I just learned of a cool way to do that on the Squishable web site. For every one small penguin ordered, the company is donating one to a child in need facing a tragedy like a hurricane.  They call it KIDS: Kids In Distressed Situations. I can’t think of a better way to put a smile on the face of a worried child than a cute stuffed animal. My only link to this company is my kids love these stuffed critters. I found the cause so compelling I just wanted to pass it on. We purchased one and will likely get a couple more as the winter holidays approach. Great stocking stuffers! Click here for more information.

Finally, use the upcoming holidays to talk to your kids about giving and the importance of giving back, to others in your family and to the community around you.  If they learn from you to be giving, they’ll grow up to become giving adults. What’s cool is you don’t have to be rich or have tons of resources to give. Every penny helps out someone and that’s all they need to learn.

According to an Arab Proverb: “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart”.

If we help our kids understand young that the best gifts in life don’t cost a cent, they’ll always feel their glass is half full at every holiday.