Dear Family Whisperer,
After reading a recent article in the New York Times, “Learning Young the Gift of Helping Others,” I felt like I should be doing more to make my child “charitable.” But I can’t even get him to part with old toys. How can I teach him to be generous?”
I read the same article [click here]! To be sure, not every kid jumps at the chance to have a birthday party with no gifts or to send money earned raking leaves to some village in Africa. And yet, giving seems to be on the upswing according to reporter Paul Sullivan, who wrote the piece. Of those polled by Fidelity Charitable, which manages donor-advised funds, 94% said they “had taught or were teaching their children to give to charity.”
Although Sullivan is quick to admit that the sample is “skewed toward charitably inclined,” it’s no surprise that giving is on the upswing. Parents know — and researchers confirm — that generosity benefits the giver as much as the recipient. We want our kids to be good citizens. Also, we’re in the midst of a backlash to the ethos of the “priceless child,” moving (hopefully) towards the era of the “competent” child. How do we nudge that along?
The short answer: Giving is not something you “teach” children; it’s a value you adopt as a family. Continue reading article