‘‘Tis the season to give, right? From the bell ringers outside the stores to the clerk asking you to give a dollar more to (insert charity’s name) to Secret Santa drawings at work, the pressure to give is put in hyperdrive during December. “Gifting” does not come as naturally as we might think, though. It is our job to teach our children how to be philanthropist, even if they aren’t rich.
Tithing used to be standard in many homes. The 10% amount is a good standard for all homes, not just Christians. If we taught our kids to give a tenth of what they receive to those less fortunate, there might not be such a rabid search for funding in December. There are a wealth of good causes out there. Allowing your children to help decide and support a cause will do nothing but good for them. Gifting our time works just as well as money often. There are so many programs that would benefit from a family donating some monthly volunteering time.
We had a rule when my kids were young: for every toy or item they got at Christmas or their birthday, they had to donate a gently-used toy or item to Goodwill. The idea was that they were to help a less-fortunate kid have a chance to have a cool gift as well.
Don’t just require that your kids gift, though. Model giving. I’m not at all saying that every cause should get a bit of your money. You’d be broke after one trip to the mall! Don’t accept false guilt; you were not meant to save the entire world! Just find the sliver you’re supposed to help.
Gifting is a “love language.” There are those to which this comes naturally, and nothing makes them happier than to give. Very few children are in touch with that love language, though. It’s up to us to cultivate the desire to give.