This is a materialistic world. Vitamin M is the factor that governs it. Be it a man or a woman, be it an adult or a kid, most of the times the attraction towards money is very strong. Worldly pleasures like designer homes and cars, jewellery and diamonds we want! Branded toys and clothes kids also want. Gadgets?! Let me not even get started on that. Not just iPads, Tablets, Play Stations; we must possess the latest models of these gadgets.
Nothing wrong in the desire to get the latest and the best. After all, we get to be a human only once and we must live life to the fullest. Fullest – yes but it shouldn’t be all about materialistic thoughts – which movie to watch, which restaurant to eat in, which bag to buy, which toy to get and so on.
It depends a lot (or probably fully) on parents on how to make kids think about “giving back”. The journey from “Give me” to “Let’s Give” can be quite exciting and rewarding for both parents and kids.
I as a parent I have picked up certain things that should encourage my kids to donate and do some kind of charity. Read on and do share your thoughts.
1. Don’t give overly importance to money talks at home
Constant discussion about money at home makes kids think that either the family is very poor or very rich. It also makes them form an opinion that Money is Everything! Imagine we devalue money by saying – Don’t care. It’s just 5$ OR we keep nagging – Common, you must not spend money anyhow. 5$ is a big amount for me. It’s my 2 meals etc etc.
While we inculcate good saving habits in kids, we should not be too stingy. While we love our family, we should not be extravagant. This balancing act is not at all easy but manageable if we really try.
2. See around you
Sometimes we become so full of ourselves that we stop seeing anything beyond me and mine. What’s in it for me? is the first question that we ask whenever someone asks a favor or even in normal day to day routine. We love to be competitive in every little thing – kids’ exam marks, promotion in the office, overseas vacations – we want the yummiest slice of the pizza!
When we open eyes and see around us, the reality hits you. Needy people who can’t even have basic necessities, elderly who are left alone by their children, people with emotional and physical traumas – this is sad but real. We sit in our bubble and refuse to see around us.
Parent in me always tries to teach my kids empathy. Kids must understand the feelings, needs and problems of the others. They must keep their hearts open for classmates, elderly and needy. Simple acts like giving up seat for people who deserve it more than us to donate a dollar to two to the blind musician in the corner of the station or buying a tissue paper from handicapped old auntie teach kids a lot. Just demonstrate 1-2 times and 3rd time onward, kids will start displaying this kindness on their own.
3. Expose them to community activities
We take kids to the most happening places – posh malls, incredible water parks, newest movies and delicious-most eateries. Yes, we should take them and keep them updated with the latest trends of lifestyle.
At the same time, do take them to voluntary activities like distributing food to less-privileged families, stray animal shelters, community health drives that teach how to help people who need medical help.
How about celebrating kids’ birthdays by distributing gifts to orphanage or old age homes? I have done that and intend to do it more.
4. Be a Regular
All the above points must have consistency. It’s not a one-time activity. The act of giving to the needy must be continuous and as a family, we should consciously contribute our bit to noble causes whenever and wherever possible. Seriously, amount of donation doesn’t matter. We should just start doing it.
How do you imbibe kindness in your kids? How do you teach them the importance of charity? Do share with me your tips and tricks.