When did you begin donating to charitable causes? I think that I was in high school. Of course I entered the job market in seventh grade and began contributing to the household income, so parting with hard earned money for the greater good started then. The kind of giving I’m talking about though, is financially supporting a cause with your money because you believe it is worthwhile.
My first lessons about giving were learned in church. I didn’t understand how there could be no money for even the smallest of things us kids wanted while watching dollars’ flow from the pockets of my parents into the church every Sunday. Even though I don’t recall any actual teaching on the subject; eventually I got the idea and sharing what little we had gained meaning and became important to me. And therein lies the key. It doesn’t matter if you teach your child enough about giving to earn a degree; if giving never has any meaning for them, they will not do it of their own free will. We gladly do things that make us feel good. If giving is done grudgingly, it will only be done when someone is watching. I guess that is why I have a hard time watching the commercials that use starving animals and people as their hook to solicit donations. That giving is done out of guilt and not necessarily from the heart.
It doesn’t take long to gauge how your child feels about giving. Just watch how willing they are to share things that clearly belong to them. If they are the child guarding their pile of toys like a greedy king hording gold, then you need to offer more instruction about sharing.
My goal is always to “share” tips that help students to gain acceptance to college and enjoy life in a good career. So, what does giving back have to do with those things? Well, volunteering and community service are pretty important sections on college applications. I believe that they are a little self-serving for the colleges but placing importance on them assures that our most highly educated at least understand the importance of giving back – whether they practice it freely or not.
Help your child find a charitable cause that speaks to their heart. You can give them and the world no greater gift.