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Charity really does begin at home

 
Giving to less fortunate people can teach your child valuable lessons.
By Cath Jenkin

Pic: Diane Cassells

Article originally in Parent24
I completely blame my own parents for my attitude to charity. They were giving people who consistently gave beyond their power and means to anyone who needed help. Being raised in an environment where the focus always leant towards helping the needy, led me to become someone who always wants to help.
 
Choosing recipients wisely

In our house, we regularly spring clean and donate old clothes and items to a local school for the underprivileged. Because my daughter has a clear understanding of the school, as her grandmother is the principal, she actively and passionately gives items away to the children. I’ve made a conscious effort to always let her know that not every child is blessed with parents, enough food and a warm home.

Sometimes that has backfired on me - like the time when she was three and tried to give a shoeless child in the supermarket her shoes. I had to explain to my sobbing daughter why the boy had chosen to not wear shoes to the shops that day and that he was there with his mom and it was okay. She’s also, in the past, happily given away her lunch and gone hungry for the day, because a kid in her class forgot theirs.

I wouldn’t label our family as privileged by any means. We don’t have a holiday home in some far-flung destination nor do we purchase luxury items. Sometimes there’s a little too much month for the money but we breathe our way through it.

Lessons in compassion

Beyond that though, bringing home the concept that not every child is as lucky as my child is has been an important facet of my parenting. It’s created a sense of compassion within my child and she’s not afraid to share. She happily indulges in “sorting out” her clothes and toys and understands that by giving away things, she helps other children survive. She’s more willing to share because she knows that beyond her warm home there are many who go without.

I fully understand why she is like this and it helps that she knows the destination of her “giveaway goods”. She’s passionate about helping and through that I see so much of my own parents. That makes me smile and I’m certain they’d smile if they were around to see it.

Charity does begin at home but it most certainly does not have to end there.

Do you ever encourage your child to be charitable?
Read more on: cath jenkin  |  charity  |  poverty  |  values  |  parenting
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