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Archive for the ‘Teaching Kids to Give’ Category

Replacing the “Gimmies” with Giving

November 20th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give


Buying 5 extra turkeys at Thanksgiving and ding-dong-ditching them at different houses.  One year I fell over a curb as we were running away and I scraped my knee.

Singing carols at the retirement home across town.  One old lady held my hand the entire time and cried when we had to leave.

Taking baked goods to neighbors.  I can’t even count the number of plates that were delivered over the years.

Hand making family gifts.  As kids we would rotate who had who, and it became a great quest to see who could come up with the most thoughtful (and cheapest) homemade gift.

Donating one of our own gifts to a homeless shelter.  I remember thinking my sister was crazy.  She donated her prized gift that year, a cabbage patch doll.

Volunteering at a local soup kitchen.  We met Dan, a cherished friend.

“Adopting” a family in need for the holidays.  They had 6 kids.  We bought a new set of clothes and a toy for each of them.  I remember my negative attitude that year.  I was upset because it meant that I would get less.

Leaving a large sum of money on a widow’s door step.  Her husband had died earlier that year.  I remember the amount and have tried to find a widow to give the same amount too every year since I’ve had my own household.

These are a few of my favorite holiday memories.

In contrast, last week we asked our kids for their Christmas Lists.  Their lists were detailed beyond belief and overflowed on both sides of the page.

Sadly, I have to admit, that I haven’t been as good at teaching generosity to my children as my parents were.  I’ve been so eager to make my kids happy and to show them how much I love them, that I lost sight of the lessons I wanted to teach them.

So, how can we instill good values in our children that will influence them not only for the holidays but for the rest of their lives?

Here are a few ideas that I was going to try to implement this year.

Discuss what the holidays mean to everyone.  Talk with them about different ways to be generous and grateful.  Ask them what those words mean to them.  Talk about examples that they have seen of someone being kind.

Set limits ahead of time.  If the real reason for the season is getting lost beneath a pile of presents, discuss how much is enough when it comes to gifts.  Talk about the difference between “want” and “need” and then decide on the number of presents or an amount of money to spend on each child.

Encourage them to give.  Whether it’s a local need or a favorite online charity, help them find a cause that they can contribute to and feel like they’ve made a difference in the world.

Homemade = Made with love.  It really is the thought that counts, especially when the recipient is a close friend or relative.

Help them to be more alert to those in need.  Welcome their input on who they think would benefit from a surprise turkey, or who could use a new pair of shoes.

Model gratitude and generosity.  Being a good example is the best way to teach your children.  Bring them along when you drop off dinner at a sick friends house or take a donation to a local shelter.


What are your favorite holiday memories of generosity and being grateful?






Generous Giving

August 28th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give


This morning, I paid $76.54 for an unknown woman’s groceries.  She didn’t have enough money at the register so I told her I’d take care of the whole thing for her.

I don’t tell you this so you’ll pat me on the back and think that I’m some spectacular generous person.

Rather, I feel anything but, because of the things that led up to it.

About a month ago, I was watching a you-tube video about a man that donated a kidney to his wife’s friend.  Wow!  I can understand donating a kidney to your wife, or one of your kids, but I sat there in awe, thinking how I would never consider giving my wife’s friend a kidney.   Shameful, I know.

Then I had a plane trip.  My seat was upgraded to first class because of frequent flyer miles.   I stood in line waiting to be boarded, with my hectic schedule flying through my mind.  A soldier stood a couple yards in front of me.   Then I heard the woman between us ask him where his seat was.   He told her middle back,  and then commented about how fun it was going to be on such a full plane.   She quickly traded him seats, giving him her first class seat.   Callous, right?

The next week, my 9 year old daughter was invited to a birthday party.  On the invitation, the little girl asked that instead of a present, that a donation be made to be given to a small city in Mexico that needed a well for clean water.   The thought never even crossed my mind.  Terrible.

And just the other day, I was having dinner at a restaurant and saw two missionaries there.  I didn’t know their religion.  Then I saw an elderly couple walk up to them and pay for their dinner.  Humbled by degrees.

So, this morning, when I was standing in line at the grocery store, and the woman in front of me pulled out several different cards, trying to pay for her formula and baby diapers, I jumped at the opportunity to reclaim my dignity.  I didn’t offer to just pay for what she lacked, I paid for her entire cart full and then just smiled as she thanked me profusely.

I have been mulling these experiences over in my mind and I wanted to share with you the main lessons that I think I learned through this.

1.  I need to be open and alert to others needs.  Half of helping is recognizing that there is a need.

2.  I need to be more creative in my giving.  It isn’t always about money.

3.  I need to be more generous, even when it’s not convenient.  Especially when it’s not convenient.

4.  I need to be quick to give, ready in an instant to be kind.  If not, the opportunity may just pass me by.

Tim Keller says, “Living is giving.  We live life best when we give ourselves, our resources, our competencies, and our time in service to others…  If you spend your money on yourself, you are just surviving.  But if you want your life to count, if you really want to live – give.”

Ron Anderson says, “We thought that financial freedom came from accumulating as much as we could and if we gave more away, we would have less to enjoy.  In reality, the more we gave, the more we enjoyed and the more freedom we experienced.”

Lynne Payne says, “I have discovered an excitement in giving that’s unique and distinct from every other gift.  It’s ironic that in separating myself from something of value, I receive back something of even greater value.  It’s a great way to do life.”

I encourage us all (myself included) to give generously and live generously.

And next time when a body part is needed, or a courtesy is granted, or help is offered, or relief is given, I hope it’s me that’s doing the giving, instead of the watching.



Giving Back: Kid-friendly Charities

November 6th, 2012 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give

Teaching a child the importance of giving is as fundamental to their future financial health as teaching them to save. The key is to connect their gifts with a charity that benefits a cause they care about. Soon giving is less of a chore and more of an honor. When thinking about available charities, consider your child’s passions and connect them accordingly.

 Charities for Humanitarians

Water for People works to build a world where all people have access to safe drinking water. If your child connects with other cultures through documentaries, books, or pictures, this is a great way to bring those ideas home.


American Red Cross is an emergency relief organization. If your family has ever been caught in the middle of a disaster, or if your child is heavily burdened by constant news coverage of those across the country, this is a great way for them to give back.

CHOICE Humanitarian is dedicated to teaching skills and sharing resources with underprivileged villages to help them break the cycle of poverty. This group is ideal for a child with a heart for helping the less fortunate.


United Way mobilizes communities to work towards a common good. This charity is perfect for kids that want to have their money help several humanitarian efforts at one time.


Charities to Help Other Kids

Phoenix Children’s Hospital provides healthcare for children and families. This hospital is an excellent connection point for kids who have either had medical issues or who have a desire to go into the medical field.


Children’s Miracle Network provides funding to children’s hospitals. If you have an up-and-coming pediatricians, or if your child has had a first-hand experience with a medical condition, this is a great way for them to give back.


Operation Smile’s sole purpose is to heal children’s smiles. This is great organization for kids that love smiling, happiness, and allowing their joy to sore. The gift of a healthy smile lasts a lifetime.



Charities that Connect Passions

One Laptop Per Child empowers children in developing countries by connecting them with laptops. This is an excellent way to help tech-savvy kids share their passion with school-age kids across the globe.


American Cancer Society raises money to find a cure for cancer and help those already diagnosed. This charity can be empowering for children who had a first-hand experience with a loved one with cancer.


Save the Earth raises environmental awareness. If your child wants to have a direct impact on the environment, this charity helps them do more than conserve energy in their own home.


World Bicycle Relief offers independence and livelihood by giving bicycles to those who can benefit from them. This is a great connection for athletic kids who are looking to share their passion.


Charities for Animal Lovers

Heifer International provides livestock to help families become self-reliant. This is a great charity for up-and-coming FFA members, animal lovers, or rural kids.


Polar Bear Survival Program is dedicated to educating people about the threats against polar bears and to help those in accredited zoos. This is a great charity for those with a passion for endangered species. Welcomes Heifer International as Premier Charity

April 19th, 2012 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give

The almost 140,000 young users of the online chore chart,, will now have a chance to help by donating livestock to families all over the globe.

My Job Chart announced this week that Heifer International has been added as one of its premier charities, all part of the unique My Job Chart approach, that provides children the opportunity to “save,” “spend” or “share” the points they earn from doing their chores.

An astounding 10 Million chores have been completed by kids using the My Job Chart system over the last 2 years.

“When I first created the online chore chart, I did so to encourage my own six children to stay on task and to complete their chores,” says Gregg Murset, founder of “More than that, though, I wanted to teach them how money works and help them see the rewards that come from saving and the joy that can come from giving to others.”

Murset says Heifer International perfectly fits with what MyJobChart is accomplishing.

Heifer International is a global nonprofit humanitarian assistance organization working to help end hunger and poverty and at the same time protect the environment and care for the Earth. Heifer provides living gifts of area-appropriate livestock and training in environmentally sound agricultural practices to families in need to help lift themselves out of poverty to become self-reliant.

“As users of My Job Chart decide to ‘share’ and designate the points they earn to go to Heifer International or another charity, these young people begin to feel that their work truly does matter. More than just pleasing their parents, they learn they have abilities and opportunities that can make a difference on a much grander scale,” says Murset.

While young users are drawn to the free online chore chart for its ease of use and the high-tech feel they love, parents are pleased with the less-obvious benefits of My Job Chart.  My Job Chart “gets kids and parents talking, it changes the entire conversation when it comes to work and money,” Murset says.

Bottom line, Murset says, “It’s free, and it works! is just a fun, easy way to instill work ethic and build character over time. Now, with the opportunity to contribute to Heifer, users can feel the satisfaction that comes with helping to lift others out of poverty and become self-reliant .”

Teaching Children Charity

June 27th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give

Ego-centrism could arguably be one of the worst problems facing today’s youth. And it may be affecting how willing your children are to do their chores and otherwise contribute to your family. When asked to do chores or help around the house, are these common phrases:

It’s not fair – you make me do everything.

Why do I have to do it? Why can’t someone else do it?

I didn’t make the mess, why should I have to clean it up?

If this is something you’re hearing on a regular basis, it may be time to teach your children to be more charitable. If given the chance to see how those less fortunate live, your child is likely to complain less and help more.

Too often, they get caught up in their own lives and focus only on what they have or don’t have. It’s difficult for them to comprehend that they might actually be very fortunate. Charitable acts and donations will give them a realistic perception of their own lives. And it’s not tough to come up with ways to teach charity.

1)      When cleaning out closets, bag up old clothes, books, and other items that can be taken to a donation center. Then take your child with you when you make that stop.

2)      Arrange a service project for a birthday or family get-together and get the entire family to join in.

3)      Take your kids to volunteer somewhere they may enjoy. For example, a teen who likes children could read to kids at a Battered Women’s Shelter.

4)      Encourage your junior high and high school age children to get involved in service clubs at school.

5)      Donate gently used items to someone in your neighborhood who needs extra help – and take your kids with you when you go.

Teaching your children charity will help them become better, more well-rounded adults. It will teach them life-lessons they may otherwise miss the chance to learn.

Now, some may say that charity is a religious-based virtue and not necessarily a value that everyone believes in. However, there are several benefits to giving charity that have nothing to do with religion or spiritual feelings. They include:

  • Tax breaks from the government
  • A chance to pay it forward
  • Scholarship opportunities (for volunteer work to charities)
  • Helps develop fiscal responsibility
  • Provides psychological benefits

So whether the motive is character development or you’re looking for more secular benefits, they exist and are well worth the time your children spend in developing this habit.

If you haven’t created your own account, now would be a great time. One of the choices in how to “spend” the points your children earn is to donate to charity. Sign up today and find out how this works as part of teaching kids to be responsible.