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A Lesson In Generosity

As we head into the holiday season, we will be greeted with sights and sounds that instill as sense of giving and goodwill to those near and far.  This seasonal cheer is often referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year!”  As a parent, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year, especially to lay the groundwork for the true meaning of giving and generosity from the heart.

Most parents teach their children to be kind and generous to those around them. Sometimes parents force this approach on their children, rather than allowing the child to choose the option rather than feel like it is an obligation. Our job as parents is to model the act of generosity to our children in our words and deed in our home and community.  

Here are some tips to set the stage for your child to experience the joy of giving to others. 

It Begins With You. Make sure that you are modeling generosity with those around you. This can be something as simple as leaving a tip and smile for the barista, asking an elderly woman in the grocery store if you can help with her cart, sharing your favorite treat with your child, or baking muffins for the neighbor that loves your recipe!  Every day look for those treasures, those moments where you can give back to someone around you.

Give To Your Family.  Make sure that your children and your spouse know how much you appreciate them. Everyone – big and small – needs to know on a consistent basis that they are seen, appreciated and adored.

Give You Child The Option. Give your child the opportunity to experience how his actions can create joy in others- but don’t force it. It is important that your child is ready to understand the experience of giving back rather than being resentful. If siblings are in the equation, this is the perfect training ground to model sharing, as well as create the environment where the experience will be positive for all involved.

Pay It Forward With Goodwill As A Family. Start while your kids are young, so your kids will experience the reality of how they’re making a difference in lives. The activities that are available in most communities include sorting food at the local food bank, helping an elderly neighbor with yard work, or sending a holiday greeting to a deployed soldier.

Eventually, your child will learn from experience that it truly is “more blessed to give than to receive!” 

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