No man is an island, or so the saying goes. By the time you reach adulthood, you realize this truism and understand why it’s essential to work for the betterment of others and the world in general. Volunteerism, or philanthropy, is an integral component to raising an aware, self-actualized human being, which is why teaching our children about the importance of philanthropy should be one of your priorities as a parent.
Lending a helping hand to others is one of the most important values you can teach your children.
Why Teaching Children About Philanthropy Is Important
Through talking to your child about philanthropy and demonstrating what it truly means, you’ll instill a sense of values and ethics in your child, as well as sowing the seed for your son or daughter to contribute good deeds to the world at large.
Eventually, these good deeds manifest in a variety of ways, including volunteerism in local communities, becoming involved in social causes, advancing awareness about the fragility of the earth’s environment, or rallying for particular civil rights or political causes.
Philanthropy not only teaches your child to shift focus from a “me-first” attitude to one that’s more caring and inclusive, but it also drives home the lesson that people of the world are all connected as members of the human race, regardless of their gender, religion, ethnic status, or other factors. Often, what affects one of us affects all of us on some level. Thus, children learn that their actions have consequences that not only affect themselves, but others as well.
Helping children connect with others through philanthropy expands their global conscience.
Tips for Talking to Children About Philanthropy
How you talk to children about philanthropy may depend on their age. Obviously, discussing volunteerism and defining philanthropy to a 6-year-old preschooler will be more challenging than discussing such concepts with a preteen. Therefore, use words that are appropriate and understandable for your child.
For instance, the word “philanthropy” will be hard to pronounce for a young child, whereas “helping others” will be easier to grasp. Find words that are easy to memorize and use them in sentences that will illustrate, though contextual clues, what it means to be altruistic and to help others by volunteering in a number of ways.
Next, when you discuss philanthropy, use visual images to convey an explanation of what you mean, whether it’s through images found on the Internet, in a magazine, or by drawing simple pictures. In addition, look for documentaries your child can watch or books he or she can read. Again, be sure you choose age-appropriate materials to ensure you’re communicating at a level that is understandable.
Finally, teach the importance of philanthropy by bringing your child along while you volunteer for a worthy cause in your area. By showing the concept through actions and explaining to your child what you’re doing as you’re moving through the philanthropic experience, he or she will be able to absorb, understand, and appreciate the impact of those actions much better than if you just speak about or describe them without an accompanying demonstration.
It’s never too early to talk to your child about philanthropy and to explain the importance of engaging in activities that help others in need. By introducing the concept of philanthropy early, you can ensure the next generation will grow up understanding the crucial role altruistic acts play in shaping a better world for all of us.
Contributor: Bev Sninchak is a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for online and print publications. She writes about many parenting topics, including explaining what is a surrogate , how to keep kids busy, and safe maternity yoga practices.