Tips to Raising Giving Children

my worldraising giving children

Ancient wisdom teaches us that it’s “more blessed to give than to receive.” When we’re giving to others, whether it’s of our time, money, or resources we’re taking our eyes off ourselves and focusing on others. There is something magical that happens within our spirit and soul that causes us to be cheerful and happy when we think of others and give to others.

Psychologists have studied Happiness and discovered that GIVING is one of the key principles that makes people happy and drives out stress, anxiety, and depression.

So, how can we raise GIVING kids in a ME generation? I believe it starts out with us as parents. I thought about how my parents raised my siblings and me to think of others and to feel what others go through during tough times. We grew up with very little yet my parents gave of whatever time, money, or resources that they had to help others.

When my family came to America as refugees from Vietnam, we arrived in a small town of Beloit, Wisconsin with a cardboard box with belongings that we managed to collect during the journey.

My parents were so grateful for the opportunity to live in America that they wanted to help other refugees just like us. With broken English and the little amount of money they earned weekly at their factory jobs, they started taking in Vietnamese refugees who arrived in our town without a place to live.

The new refugees were clothed, fed and taught how to drive, and find employment where they worked to saved up enough to be on their own. I watched people come and go during these years. This continued for most of the years I lived at home.

I watched my father serve and give. He was honored in 1984 as Volunteer of the Year by the community with an awards dinner. He was truly an example to my siblings and me.

I wanted to raise my children to be givers and not takers in life. I wanted to carry on the legacy that my father instilled in my siblings and me. “Life is to give and not to take.” My father would also say, “These are seeds for your future.” He believed in the principles of giving will be reaped in the next generation.

He was right. I watched, observed, and I followed. If there’s anything that I resemble of my father-it’s compassion for others and I’m proud to have that trait.

When my husband and I had our first child, we taught her early on to be a giver. Starting with simple lessons; instead of fighting over the same toy, give it to the other child. This taught her to put others first.

As she got older, it got to the point where she would want to give EVERYTHING she owned to all of her friends; presents that she received from relatives were cheerfully given away without parental approval. She learned the art of being a cheerful giver at a young age. We eventually explained that it’s a beautiful thing to GIVE but balance is good too.

When our sons were born and the kids were older, we got involved in the Angel Tree program at Christmas. The Angel Tree program connects parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts.

We picked out the gifts, wrapped them with the child name and signed them from their parents who were in prison and personally delivered the gifts to their homes.

I always looked forward to hearing how they felt after delivering the gifts to these children and often times they expressed how sad they felt seeing the living conditions. But how blessed they felt to be able to give and put a smile on another child’s face who was less fortunate.

Participating giving opportunity allowed our kids to see what others go through and made them more compassionate people. I believe this principle will be passed from one generation to the next as long as we make GIVING a lifestyle.

What tips do you have for raising giving children?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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