A Guide to Raising a Donor-Oriented Child

Doing good doesn’t just benefit those around you. It helps you, too. Additionally, it improves the well-being and confidence of your youngster.

Do you think it’s worth it? It would have been much simpler to slip the gift under the school’s tree once the kids were already seated in their respective classrooms, thereby avoiding the whole ordeal. Either way, the little girl would have a gift to unwrap, and we could check “good deed” off our holiday must-do list. Completed.

This is a teaching opportunity, the Good Parent on my right shoulder told me. Your children will begin to realize the impact they can have on the world if they put the present under the tree themselves.

But would it make them the kind of women I wanted them to be, who cares about others and doesn’t let the rest of the world revolve around them? Children develop a habit of assisting others as soon as they are exposed to it.

The best way to inspire others is to lead by example.

Like brushing your teeth or saying “please,” children should learn that assisting others is something everyone should do. Nevertheless, your child can only learn to give, care for, and share if you model it for him. You have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. And it’s not an easy lesson for today’s parents to teach their children.

Why? People born in the 1970s and after, like myself, were taught (and have been taught) to focus on what the world can do for us rather than what we can do for the general good. 

This has influenced the way we raise our children. For many of us, the attempt to raise our children’s self-esteem during the last few decades has been misconstrued. Praise from parents, such as, “You’re clever and lovely and special!” can lead to children who are conceited and self-centered.

Volunteerism among youths has increased in recent years, but this trend reverses once they graduate from high school. Often, students conduct community service because it is required by their high schools and because it will help them get into college.

Participation was also affected by the recession. According to a National Conference on Citizenship research, 72% of Americans have reduced their participation in civic and organizational activities as a result of the downturn. In addition, children are feeling the effects of a general loss in meaningful participation. Compared to 1972, the number of Boy Scouts is down by more than half, while the number of Girl Scouts has dropped by 30 percent.

At the time, I feared that the fate of the country and even of humanity was at stake when my two pre-schoolers placed a gift under the Christmas tree for an unknown little girl. Experts disagree, however, and argue that these kinds of behaviors are critical to the success of the next generation. When everyone thinks they are the center of the universe, the world can be a mess.

Children—and, by extension, all of us—are growing increasingly disconnected from one another as a result of all of this introspection. Developing empathy isn’t something you can accomplish on your computer or smartphone. Direct contact fosters the development of interpersonal relationships, the ability to accept those who are different from yourself, and the desire to get involved in a cause that is greater than one’s own.

How Volunteering Has a Positive Impact

It’s a win-win situation for both the recipient and the giver when you aid someone in need. According to a research by the Corporation for National and Community Service, kids who volunteer do better in school and are less likely to take drugs.

Volunteers have been found to be happier and healthier than those who don’t consistently provide a hand, according to the same group. Volunteering with direct human contact has been shown to improve mood and well-being in studies: A rush of endorphins is experienced by the provider, the recipient, and anybody who witnesses the exchange. In addition, it fosters a sense of self-worth and confidence in children by demonstrating that their actions have an impact.

Good Causes for Children

It can be difficult to come up with a suitable charity for your youngster. What are you looking for in terms of inspiration? GenerateOn (generationon.org) has a wide variety of project ideas, including collecting mittens for the homeless and manufacturing valentines for hospital patients.

Helpful related articles: Ideas for Teaching Children the Value of Charity and VolunteerismHow to Instill Generosity in Your ChildrenHow to Raise Critical Thinkers