There’s no doubt that all parents want the absolute best for their children! The best education; the best clothes; the latest technology gadget; and, the latest video game consoles are only a few items that parents spend their hard-earned money on. Some parents may feel like my parents did; my parents wanted me to have more than they did. But, I ask, is this an appropriate approach?
Nowadays, when holidays come around, the one of the first thoughts that comes to mind are the “store deals”. There are so many reports that summarize the bazillion amounts of sales made on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season. Compared to years’ prior, these numbers may seem to appear a little bit weak, but at the onset, are BIG numbers. No one can go one day without being bombarded with commercials on the latest deals, layaway plans, and “buy now, pay later” options.
Don’t get me wrong, I have found myself taking advantage of the store deals, but I also think the holidays are a time where actions should speak louder than words. We “hear” about how the holidays should reflect times of giving, blessings, thankfulness and gratitude. But, do we really SHOW it? Better yet, are we (as adults and parents) teaching children how helping others can be a rewarding experience?
Keep in mind, children are children. It may be difficult for them to understand the notion of “thankfulness and gratitude” because their thoughts are on the food, the anticipation of fabulous gifts, and “showing off” to their friends. That’s why it is up to adults (parents or not) to show children how “giving back/helping others” helps them, just as much as it helps the other.
This holiday season, I encourage everyone to help children understand and implement the benefits of “giving back”. Easy activities that can teach children the importance of giving back and boost their self-esteem are:
– Volunteering with a favorite non-profit (e.g. planting trees, painting projects, reading to others)
– Donating household items such as old clothing or toys
– Using allowance to make a financial donation to an organization in need
– Contact food banks; ask if assistance is needed with any tasks (e.g. preparing or serving food)
– Contact local animal shelters; ask if assistance is needed with any tasks (e.g. feeding/walking animals)