I describe my three year-old son as a giving, empathetic and gentle soul. My daughter shows signs of giving and empathy too, but not as much as my son does. I think when children learn to be givers at an early age it shapes their values and provides opportunities to develop kindness, a virtue that improves lives and reduces violence and bullying.
But in a culture dominated by violence, cruelty and self-absorption (and quite a lot of the “gimmes” during this holiday time), empathy and compassion must be nurtured, and studies show that young people are becoming less empathetic than in generations past. As our child’s first and most important teacher, we, as parents, have an important opportunity to start building pathways to kindness and compassion for people, animals and the earth, starting when children are very young.
I try to teach concepts of giving, kindness and empathy by reading lots of books like ones listed here and here. In addition, I provide my kids with different opportunities to help others. Even from an early age, children can be involved in helping others. From donating non-perishable goods to a food pantry, to donating their clothes and toys, to volunteering as a family at an animal shelter, I aim to find numerous age-appropriate opportunities to cultivate generosity and empathy.
Another way I’m teaching the kids about giving this holiday season is by introducing them to organizations like CARE.org. CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.
I am truly inspired by the overall mission of CARE as they support things that are near and dear to my heart like diversity and empowering girls and women. The CARE.org website is full of inspiring stories and videos of children like Evelesi and Maliyana whose lives have been forever changed because of small acts of kindness from people and families like ours. Check out this video to get a dose of inspiration. Want even more inspiration? Be sure to tune in to Facebook.com/CAREFans to meet and interact with the girls featured in the 2016 catalog from December 5th – 16th.
With your support CARE can:
- Help poor families send their children to school
- Help people learn skills to start and sustain their own businesses
- Deliver emergency aid when disaster strikes
- Help women build a better life for themselves, their families and their communities
Reading books and telling stories that demonstrate showing compassion and care for others is great. I will never discount the power of using stories to get certain points across to children. It’s been proven that stories are a wonderful teaching tool, and of course, regular reading and storytelling build important communication and literacy skills. However, I think whenever you have the opportunity to provide children with real-life, tangible examples and sharing personal stories helps even more. Help your children see the impact of giving like never before this holiday season with CARE. Your gifts will empower girls and women to pursue their dreams and help lift up their communities.
Learn more about Gifts for Change and donate!
Want to get involved? Give a gift, change a life. When people do their holiday shopping with CARE their money directly impacts women and girls around the world who need it most. Contributions to the catalog strengthen communities and empower individuals to be independent and successful. Learn more about the Gifts for Change at the CARE.org website. In the catalog you can give as little as $25 up to $7,000 or more. The choice is yours! Of course any amount you can donate will be greatly appreciated.