Monday, May 27, 2013

Teaching your Child to be Charitable



This year’s Mater Heart Run held this Saturday, is a success due to the many “little” people behind the scenes, including my son, who went door to door fundraising for the initiative for “little” fellows with heart problems. My son’s school had been chosen to take part in the event and boy, was he glad to be doing it.  You should have heard him ask all our friends and relatives how much they wished to give. In fact, he was not only suggesting that we give Kshs. 1000 or more each, but he even went ahead adding the amount besides our names. Talk about being generous. I was surprised because sometimes it is a problem to share toys with his friends. However, because their head teacher had given them a clear explanation about the cause, he was more than willing to do his very best. He had also developed profound compassion for the sick children.

                                                         Image courtesy of Artur84
Children unlike adults give without thinking about what they have to lose and this is perfect foundation for nurturing in them the spirit of giving, way into adulthood. If adults would give more, then today we would not have so many children sleeping hungry or not attending school because they do not have books or uniforms. Similarly, we would not have overpopulated orphanages because mothers would be willing to give all their love and support to their children in spite of their circumstances. The ball however, is in parents’ court to teach children on being charitable, so that they can grow up practicing the same. The goal is to instill compassion and turn them into a lifetime givers. Teaching your child to be charitable can be achieved in these simple ways.

1.            Talk about the Needy in the Society
There is no perfect timing to talk to your child about the needy people in the society. Therefore, invent the opportunity when you go to visit a sick relative, friend or when you pass by an orphanage. Similarly, passing by a homeless family would also be a perfect opportunity to introduce charity in your child’s life. This may sound a little absurd, but if you take your child on a tour to the Animal Orphanage in Nairobi, it is important to explain that just as those animals do not have parents, there are children without parents as well and rely on well-wishers for food and clothes.

2.            Let your Child Help the Elderly
If you never let your child go near old people because he or she might get sick, then chances are that your child will never learn to be charitable. Explain to your child the importance of helping the elderly with chores, picking their walking sticks, giving them directions and even offering them seats when using public transport. The same value has been imparted to older generations.  There is no reason not to do it in digital generation.

3.            Keep your Word
Never tell your child that some money or item is meant for charity, and then divert it elsewhere. Your child will not understand the need to be charitable. Furthermore, children never forget. They will remind you anytime you do not honor your word. You need be the best example on this one.

4.            Dive into Giving
Talking about being charitable to your kids is simply not enough. You have to get into it right away. Work on having a family program where your child donates books, clothes, toys and some savings as you do the same, on regular basis. You can choose a particular orphanage or institution or just be random with your giving. However, make sure that you and your child agree to it. It is also important to visit a children’s orphanage once in a while so that your child can have a true picture of the situation.

Well, teaching your child about charitable activities is easy as long as there is communication. The Bible says the Lord loves a cheerful giver. As such, blessings shower you and your child when you practice being charitable. Your child should understand this as well. 

My son and I will be giving books and clothes to RirutaShade Orphanage in Nairobi, at least annually, please work with us in this cause. Contact us here for details.