spirit of giving

3 Ways to Show Your Kids a Spirit of Giving

I was at a camp in upper state New York when I was sixteen. A friend of mine and I decided to throw a baseball. After a couple of tosses back and forth, he threw one over my head. It went over a fence into a garbage area behind the dining hall. When I headed back there to get it, I remember wanting to move quickly because I thought I might get in trouble.

After searching for a couple of seconds, I saw it in a bunch of filth. As I started climbing through the grime to get it, I heard someone say, “Hey, stop!” When I turned around expecting to get yelled at, there was a girl standing there smiling. “What are doing?” she asked. I told her I was just trying to get my ball back and then I would be out of there. She told me that she didn’t want me to get dirty so she would get it. Despite my protest, she waded through the garbage and rescued the ball without breaking her smile. As if that weren’t enough, she then took it inside and cleaned it, returning it to me moments later cleaner than it even was before my friend and I started throwing.

I was only with her for a few moments twenty-five years ago, but I will never forget her. Now I had always considered myself a good and kind person, but she had something I was missing. Life and love radiated from her. She had a spirit of giving that was so attractive and infectious. When we give to others, we have an opportunity to change their lives. If our kids are going to make the world a better place, we need to instill a giving spirit. Here are three ways to do that as the holidays approach.

If our kids are going to make the world a better place, we need to instill a giving spirit. Click To Tweet

1. Gifts to Siblings

Teach them to give generously to family members. Have them take their own money, think through what each family member would like, buy it for them, and be involved in the wrapping. If it is too overwhelming for them to do for each person in the family, designate a sibling so that they each have one person to focus on. Take the opportunity to teach them why giving is so important.

2. Celebrating People with Thankless Jobs

Teach them to give to people in the community. I think about those with thankless jobs: trash collectors, mail carriers, cashiers at the grocery store. Have your kids make a thank you letter, with candy and perhaps a gift card. Tell them to pay attention to how the person responds. Ask them the question, “What if we did this once a month instead of just during the holidays?”

3. Operation Christmas Child

Teach them to give to those in need around the world. Our office has taken part in this wonderful cause for the past couple of years. You won’t regret it. It’s simple. Get a shoe box or several. Fill the shoe box with toys and $9 for shipping. Send it back to Operation Christmas Child, and they send it to a needy kid in an impoverished part of the world. It will give your kids a broader picture of life and how they can make a difference.

Sound Off

What are some other giving opportunities?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Jeremy

    Great work BJ!

  • Nathan Smith

    BJ, what’s the name of the camp you attended in update New York? We send our kids to Mapleridge Ranch formerly known as El Rancho de Paz in Owego, NY.

    • BJ_Foster

      It was a Young Life Camp called Saranac. It was right near Lake Placid where the 1980 Winter Olympics were located. Hope your kids had a great time at Mapleridge. I spent 20 years of my life going to camps, first as a camper and then as a leader. It can be a life changing experience.

      • Nathan Smith

        Our kids go to Mapleridge Ranch every year and will be there in 2018 too! I went to a men’s retreat this year at a Young Life facility just outside Asheville, NC called Windy Gap and I was so impressed by the campus and the Young Life staff. And the retreat couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.

        Thanks for all you do and for creating and sharing these daily thoughts to challenge me to be a better dad and husband.

        Grace to you,
        Nathan

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it important to think about and meet the needs of others?”

foster and adoption
Did You Get It?
Every Man's Bible
Florida Prepaid