I have many hopes and dreams for my children. It’s why I work hard each day to give them a life that I could only dream of having as a child. Being able to do so much for them is a great feeling for me, but I also worry about the flip side of this. I don’t want to raise children who are unaware of others in our community and world who are struggling. It is critical that I raise kids who give back.
I’ve always looked for little ways here and there for Caleb to give back to others. But, I’m in overdrive now that he is old enough to understand more about certain issues and often suggests ideas on how he can help others.
Last week, we dropped off our boxes for Operation Christmas Child. While packing the gifts, I had a conversation with Caleb about why it’s important to give to our neighbors. It was a short but incredibly sweet chat. He wants to “always help others,” and it is my job to help him do so.
Find a cause that your children understand.
I’m passionate about supporting Black mothers, anti-hunger efforts and early childhood education. But, those don’t immediate translate into things that Caleb understands. Well, with the exception of fighting hunger. He understands that that we have neighbors who don’t have clothes, diapers, toys or food. He knows what it feels like to have those things, so he immediately wants to do something to help those in need.
Establish a family giving plan.
A family giving plan helps you establish what cause you will support, how you will learn more about the issue, and document what actions you can take on a regular basis. If your kids are older than four, I would absolutely include them in the discussion. Get their ideas because they have really good ones. Need some help getting started? I created this free printable that your family can complete together. By answering three simple questions, you will have the building blocks you need to strengthen your family’s legacy by giving.
Create opportunities for kids to give back.
It’s not enough to want our kids to be community-minded, we have to actually make that happen. For me, that means regularly talking about sharing, being nice, and helping our neighbors. I’ve also tried to find a tangible activity that Caleb can do each month. Sometimes, it is as simple as taking a letter and snack to kid in the neighborhood. Other times, like this month, he’s decorated cards for people living with cancer and made a “Thank You” card to drop off at our fire station.
Whatever you do + however you do it, I am already celebrating your commitment to raising kids who give back! It’s never too early to teach our littles that we’re all in this thing together.