Charitable Children: 3 Ways to Teach Your Kids How To Give Back
This year, my kids and I will be decorating a homeless Christmas tree along with homeless people in downtown Dallas. It will be a rewarding experience because they will remember the love, gratitude, and joy in the faces of the people they spent time with. They will also get a little bonding time with mom at the same time.
What's your desire when it comes to giving? There are so many ways to give because there's so much need. In America alone, thousands of homeless men women and children live on the street. 10,000 homeless kids are enrolled in Chicago schools alone. There are orphanages and homes for the elderly in every major city. In the smallest of towns, there are poverty stricken people who need a helping hand, or inspiring word.
A girl I know volunteers her time in a domestic abuse shelter. I lead homeless writing groups. Whatever your skill, or passion, you can use it to give back.
3 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Giving Back to Others
The following are three ways to cultivate giving:
- Cultivate a sense of giving in your kids by making giving a normal part of life, not a random event.
- Teach them to have a servants heart. Be open to new adventures and opportunities to serve others!
- Allow your kids pick a needy child or family to give love, toys or time to in the New Year.
When I was contacted by an organization that has a school for kids and a clinic to fight aids in Africa, I was a little uneasy about it. I'm not Bono and I'm certainly not Madonna. They asked me to come over and possibly speak and teach curriculum to achieve life skills, something I teach in inner city schools of America.
Months later, the director of the center, flew over and shared the vision with me. He stayed at my home, met my kids, and talked about the HIV rate and how many of their babies are born with the disease. Him, his wife, and two boys live amongst these kids daily. Their mission is to try and save lives.
He shared stories my kids they will never forget. The deadly black mamba snake, lions, tigers, and how his oldest son catches snakes all the time, right outside their back door. It both frightened and exhilarated me to think of such a vastly different culture. Here was an non-imposing man, who went barefoot everywhere (including Home Depot) in Texas, as if it were perfectly normal!
Their center, the Sophumelela Center, provides education for adults, and children. It provides two meals a day for little kids who normally eat nothing, or a porridge soup. They are a dynamic, progressive, and growing organization that endeavours not to lose its personal touch. The outcome is for beneficiaries to move people to self-sustainability through their comprehensive battery of programs. Their vision is to see a society free from the suffering of HIV/AIDS and they will achieve this through their mission to provide medical care and treatment, education, social enterprise and development, and replication and partnerships.
When the director left, my six year-old said, "I really want to go to Africa." I kept envisioning him running through the fields with black Mambas. This is not any American mothers idea of fun. But maybe I should be open to the possibility that God could touch my children's hearts in ways my own plans could not.
Maybe I need to have a heart for Africa after all. What about you?
What's your plan for giving this year? How will you get your whole family involved in giving back to those in need over the next year?
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Tammy Kling is a life coach, advocate for the homeless, and international author of 29 books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founderr of Write it Out, an organization that helps gang members, the homeless, and those living on the street write out their hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and various other resources.
In addition to writing and coaching, Tammy is a mom of two boys, an avid trail and mountain runner, blogger, and adventure travel writer.