My very best friend is paranoid that her children will grow up to be spoiled, entitled adults. I think all parents worry about this to some degree (especially in America), but being spoiled and entitled is not a foregone conclusion.
I think I may have mentioned modeling good behavior in every blog post I’ve ever written, or maybe it just feels that way, but that’s where it starts.
As parents, we must:
- Model altruism
- Model charity
- Model compassion
Make doing good part of your life. Read books like Everybody Can Help Somebody (or, for older kids, Be The Change).
13 Ways Kids Can Do Good
- They can tithe their allowance. And they should tithe their allowance. They should see you tithing cheerfully, and you should help them to see that God will use their money to do great things in your community and across the world. Talk with them (to the best of their understanding) about your church’s finances – charities and ministries and missionaries that your church supports.
- They can do good abroad. My daughter has made shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child three years running. She loves it. We also sponsor two children through Compassion International, and my daughter writes letters to them and sends them gifts.
- They can do good in your community. Every community has food banks. Every food bank needs donations and manpower to stock shelves and distribute food. The food banks in our community love having children helpers; yours probably does too.
- They can do good for nature. Feed the birds (make homemade bird feeders). Feed ducks or geese. Help your children to conserve electricity, water, recycle, and protect our earth. There are lots of good ideas in It’s Easy Being Green.
- They can donate their stuff. In my family, we need our stuff. We try to hoard it. Kids, especially, wrap their feelings up in the stuff that belongs specifically to them. In my home, we frequently sift through our bookshelves and toy boxes and kitchen cabinets and closets and purses, and we filter out the things that we no longer need. We donate different things in different places – books go to the library for their used book sale, toys and clothing goes to an organization that raises money for wounded veterans. Baby and kid stuff go to a pregnancy center. Our kids see us getting rid of our stuff, and it becomes a normal part of getting new stuff.
- They can do good for people. I saw a blog post last year in which a family made care kits for the homeless. They kept the kits in their car, and they handed them out whenever they were moved to do so. The same family made chemo care packages that made me cry (we lost my mother to pancreatic cancer very recently). You could tuck a passage from God’s Love for You Bible Storybook in your care package. What beautiful lessons for their children in so many ways.
- They can do good for loved ones. Teach your children that they don’t always have to serve strangers- they can serve family too. Help them to send a card to out-of-town relatives. Create a love jar for their dad. Bring treats to a neighbor.
Here are a few other ideas for ways your kids can do good:
- Do good for senior citizens
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood
- Inspire random acts of kindness
- Thank public servants
- Help a neighbor who could use a hand
- Foster a homeless pet or volunteer at an animal shelter
I’ve shared some ways kids can do good, but I know there are a multitude of others. How do you teach your kids to do good?