Friday, September 9, 2011

The Gift of Giving: Providing Opportunities for your Child to Give Back to Society by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

The Gift of Giving: Providing Opportunities for your Child to Give Back to Society by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents, it is never too early to teach your child/ren the importance of giving back to society and providing opportunities for your child to help those who are less fortunate and cannot give a gift in return of financial value.

Some years ago, giving back to society by helping others was a common practice provided predominantly by or through the following:

1.      Siblings- when households consisted of 5, 7 or more brothers and/or sisters one learned to share and/or assist, which expanded outside the home. Now that many parents have reduced the number of offspring to 1-2, individuality has emerged and many children do not learn or practice the art of sharing as much as in the past.

2.      Church- the practice of helping others were taught and learned at an early age.

3.      Parents (grandparents) - often set the example by helping others and getting their children involved likewise.

4.      Neighbors (community) - Many among the elderly who desired to remain in their homes had no fear of being placed in a nursing home as long as the community was filled with families with children. Children became the neighbors’ golfers (go for it). If the elderly needed errands run, assistance in the home, transportation, the community and often the Church rose to the challenge and assistance was forthcoming from Parents and their children.

Parents, when you try too often to impress upon your child/ren verbally how much they possess (from a material standpoint); how much they take for granted the roof over their head(s), food, and the support and care you provide, do not be surprised if you hear muttering, grumbling and mumblings of “oh no, not again” or you get exasperated looks from your child/ren. In fact you may find yourself talking to empty air or even hear the child respond with “Dad or Mom, we know, we know!” and in the same breath ask, yet again for something else for him/herself. Now, you are exasperated! Some lessons are taught better through example and if important, should be implemented by you, the Parent.

Economic hardship permeates and abounds; there are those who are less fortunate than you and your family or I. Why not provide the opportunity during the upcoming holidays for your child/ren to give back. Parents, during the hectic holiday season, for some it is easier to write a check or donate to a charity. This season provide an opportunity for your child/ren to become involved. Their observation of your writing and signing a check does not count (smile), nor does a school related activity.

4 Ways to provide Opportunities for your Child/ren to give back to Society:

1.      Get your child/ren’s suggestions; it never ceases to amaze how innovative children can become.

2.      In the past, I have utilized various department stores’ Christmas gift-giving campaigns for children. After having viewed information listed for and on each child on a placard hung from a Christmas tree, one would select a placard(s), purchase a gift for the child, wrap and place the gift under the Christmas tree. Consider allowing your child to choose, purchase, and depending on age, wrap or assist you with wrapping his/her selected gift and leaving the gift (prevents the child from expecting the gift him/herself) where designated at the store. It should be interesting viewing what your child selects.

Note: It may also be necessary to place some financial limitations.

3.      Call a community organization, homeless shelter or nursing home - inquire of their need(s) during the holiday season; you and your child/ren can plan according to information obtained (perhaps even providing or participating in an activity or event).

4.      Many go to Church ceremonies during the holiday season - find a less fortunate family to provide gifts and/or a meal; donate food (you and your child/ren will purchase together) to holiday baskets that will be distributed, or distribute a basket or baskets. When your family sits down to your own family meal, you and your children will truly know and feel that you are truly blessed and/or fortunate.

5 Benefits your Child/ren may obtain through giving back and/or to those less fortunate; your child

1.      Focuses on others instead of self

2.      Can realize how blessed and/or fortunate he/she is from a material standpoint

3.      Can increase self-worth and/or give your child a purpose

4.      Can produce a good or warm fuzzy feeling from having helped someone less fortunate and made a difference

5.      May feel less guilty about his/her own abundance

The Holiday Season is rapidly approaching; begin planning with your child/ren now!

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder

Parents Taking Charge in Education

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