How do you teach your child to be a giver? I asked some moms to share what they’re doing to ensure that their children grow up to be philanthropists.
We begin with Debbie Goldberg. She is the Co-Founder of Fresh Brothers, and Mom Blogger at ManhattanBeachMomma.com
When did you begin introducing the concept of “giving” to your children? How old were they? And what were some of the “activities” that you introduced?
“In 2004, I gave birth to boy/girl twins. I soon became President of the Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association. They have a program called Meals on Heels, where they ask volunteers to deliver meals to new moms of multiples. We did that often, and I’d bring the kids with me to deliver the meals. In addition, because we own Fresh Brothers, a chain of pizzerias, we feel that it’s crucial that we give back to our community. Two years ago at Christmas, we hosted a sweatshirt collection for those in need in conjunction with a young high school student named Jason Jones. His organization is called The Sweatshirt Project, and together we collected over 1,000 new and gently used sweatshirts. Our kids were five, but they helped me sort sweatshirts, move giant bags around, etc. On Mother’s Day this year, we collected Diapers for Help A Mother Out. They were big helpers in that effort too!”
“Giving is an action. Have your children help you with whatever type of giving you are comfortable with. If you collect food for the hungry, bring your kids with you to the store, to the collection site, etc. Get them involved. Ask your kids what kind of giving and charity they’d like to be a part of. For their allowance, separate it into three jars: savings/spending/giving. Allow them to choose where their money will go to for giving. If your child loves horses, perhaps there is a horse rescue organization that you can find to give some of the money to.”
Can you explain how you are helping your children understand that giving is a part of life, not something that is just done during the holiday season?
“The kids understand that we as business owners in several communities have a responsibility to give back to those communities that help our businesses thrive. When there are runs like the Manhattan Beach 10k in our town, we give out 1,000 slices to the runners. We do this as a family – mom, dad, Nate and Ryann. We try to involve our kids in giving opportunities as often as possible. They learn compassion and the joy of giving by living it.”
“You could say in a lot of ways that our business, Fresh Brothers, is our life. If you ask anyone about Fresh Brothers in our community, they will tell you that we are all about giving back to our communities. It’s a two way street…every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It’s thrilling to have a virtual stranger walk up to you when they see us wearing our logo’d clothing and say something like “Thank you for sponsoring our baseball team.” Or, “thanks for all that you do for our education system.” It’s amazing. It never gets old!”
“We give because we can. We aren’t wealthy. But we’re blessed to have a successful business and a happy and healthy family. We realize that giving will always be a part of our lives because it’s fun and we truly enjoy it.”
Father and son, Adam and Nate, at 10K Run
SMN’s next mom with some giving tips is Laura Filipowicz. She is the Founder and CEO of BagLady Promotions which encompasses BLP Connect and several other on-line businesses such as www.HerReview.com, www.InfluentialMoms.com and www.WeHeartMoms.com.
When did you begin introducing the concept of “giving” to your child? What were some of the “activities” that you introduced?
“My daughter was 4 years old. The world of giving was sort of introduced to her by everyday life. She wanted to know why people live on the streets (homeless lady she saw) and why people take the bus sometimes (why some have no cars) etc… I explained it and we came up with giving back to the community!”
Can you explain how you are helping your child understand that giving is a part of life, not just during the Holidays?
“We contribute to the “share” jar year round. Giving to my daughter is not only done during the holidays. She always looks for the homeless lady on Sepulveda Boulevard on the way to school. She knows this is life and an everyday thing.”
What are some of the discussions you have had with your child about giving? Maybe you have a specific memory of something your child said that made you believe she gets it?
“She has focused on this one lady on Sepulveda Boulevard who usually sleeps outside near a store front. She understands that the woman lives there. If the lady is not there, my daughter worries but then says that maybe the lady has found her family or a permanent place to sleep. This is an ongoing discussion.”
“I think it is important to teach kids the reality of life. We don’t have to put it so boldly, but in a way that they can process. My daughter asked me why the woman was homeless. I told her it could be many factors and explained the most appropriate ones like possibly no job, no family, bad life decisions, or sometimes it is the luck of the draw. I explain we all have the option to try to be who we want to be. I tell my daughter she has to try in life, study, and give back to the community to be a well-rounded individual. Life is not all about money and what you wear. Life is about trying your best to help yourself, your family and others around you. She gets it… even at age 6!”