giving back

Charity: Teaching Your Kids the Importance of Giving Back

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Charity—If you've ever been propositioned by your child for an iPhone, or some other luxury device, you know the frustration of being a mom in this crazy world in which we live. I saw an eight year-old driving a golf cart the other day (alone), a nine year-old Facetiming on his cellphone, and a 15 year-old vying for a $10,000 car who told his dad, "In my school, that's nothing. Kids drive Hummers and Mercedes."

I'm not really sure what to say to all of that except that for me, it just doesn't feel right. I'm not against giving gifts or cars to kids. As long as we are aware of how we can teach them, to give. Giving is the opposite of entitlement. And I really admire some moms who get it right. They give experiences instead of expensive toys. They're great role models for me and how I'd like my kids to view the world.

Showing your kids a different side of life can change their life. Forever. How? One way is to develop a reality based view of the world. My kids are so accustomed to seeing the way orphans and homeless people live that my six year-old wants to downsize. And he means it. "A big home is a waste of money," he said. "There are other things you can do with the money."

One mom, Jennifer Birrd, has raised her daughter to serve meals to the homeless every Sunday. Since she was a child, Claudia has been serving meals, time, and love, to the homeless population in Dallas, Texas. Their Open Air Ministries serves chicken, mashed potatoes, and clothing to people who have fallen on hard times. The lesson is invaluable. It's hard to want the new 4G when you've seen a five year-old living on the street in need of food.

I've learned a lot by talking to the underprivileged and letting my kids see that other kids live under bridges. This is an eye opener. Sure, they still want material things. But when you expose them to a broader world view you're not harming them. You're encouraging them to give.

And as we head back to school, one of the most valuable ways you can build a legacy that creates a difference in the heart of your child is to show them the less fortunate. Keep it simple. If you can't make it to a shelter, gather food and drop it off at a food pantry.

Take the Give Back Challenge

  1. Choose the 1st Sunday of the month for giving. Call your local homeless shelter and bring your kids to serve meals.
  2. Bring your kids to am orphanage and donate their old toys. Don't just write a check. Bring them with you.
  3. Pack a suitcase and have your garage filled with water bottles, clothing, and toys. When a disaster hits such as a tornado, or flood, load the kids in the car and give. Don't try to plan and prepare. Be open to the possibilities that your life might be changed in a good way...forever!

Why do you think it's important to teach your kids how to give back? What will you do this year with your kids to give back?

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.

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I'm a book author, homeschool mom of boys, mountain runner and advocate for the homeless. Founder of Write it Out, a homeless recovery program that teaches writers workshops to the homeless and gang members, in order to focus on using the power of words to restore, recover, and rehabilitate. www.escapesuburbia.wordpress.com

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