I have many hopes and dreams for my boys. It’s why I work hard each day to give them a life that I could only dream of having as a child. These boys want for nothing. Food, clothing, toys, access to healthcare, activities… You name it. It’s covered. This is very different than from how I grew up. It’s a blessing that I would never deny.
But, it’s important that they realize just how blessed our family is and to not take our circumstances for granted. So, I’m always looking for opportunities for them to give back, whether it’s making cards to go in Blessings in a Backpack kits or donating their clothes to other families.
This weekend, we purchased new toys to donate to our local food pantry. In preparation, I had a conversation with Caleb about why it’s important to give to our neighbors. It was a short but incredibly sweet chat. Three things became evident as we talked so I’m sharing if it helps.
Lead with empathy.
I explained to Caleb that we would be giving toys to our neighbors who didn’t have any. Then, I asked how he would feel if he didn’t have toys. His response of “sad” opened up the door to talk about why it’s important to be good neighbors to families in need. His closing comment: “We don’t want our neighbors to be sad. They should be happy.”
Find a cause that your children understand.
Caleb understands that there are families who don’t have food, toys or diapers because we talk about that often. It’s also an idea that feels more concrete in his four-year-old mind versus other, more complex social issues.
Look for kid-friendly opportunities for them to give back.
It’s not enough for me to talk about these issues with Caleb. I want him to roll up his sleeves. For the toy drive, I asked him to help me pick toys in the Target app. When we’re shopping for the food pantry, he’s puts things in the cart and decides what snacks to grab. He feels accomplished and loves actually helping.
Raising kind kids is a lifelong commitment but I am down for the journey. For the parents out there, how are you encouraging your children to give back? What activities do you do on a regular basis?