Creative Child

How to Raise a Philanthropist

by Winita Frederick

A lesson learned early on for most is that playtime went more smoothly when everyone shared. As we get older, though, life gets more complicated and we often become more selfish. So, in an age marked by debt and financial insecurity for many adults, how do we take lessons about generosity beyond the playground and into the real world? How do we pass down values of sharing while also teaching our kids the importance of self-preservation? The answer is philanthropy.

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Philanthropy comes from the Greek roots philos meaning “loving” and anthropos meaning man. Simply put, it’s the practice of helping people. Make no mistake; it does take practice.

According to Talk About Giving, philanthropy offers families an opportunity to strengthen bonds as they unite around common goals. If you share hobbies with your kids such as cooking, science, art, or books, find a charity that already aligns with your child’s interests. Incorporating strengths-based parenting will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. And if your budget is tight, don’t worry! Giving doesn’t have to mean giving money.

Go to a soup kitchen to feed the homeless if your child already enjoys cooking; or start an art supplies or book collection drive to give supplies to those in need. If science is your child’s forte, find a nearby community garden (or start one in your backyard!) where you can learn about the earth & biology. Then donate your crop to someone in need. If your child is an exceptional reader or a budding piano prodigy, find a buddy or tutor program at your community center or church where they can help kids who are struggling with those same subjects.

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The goal is to integrate giving into something your child already enjoys, so they can feel the joy of sharing with others. Every responsibility involves boring or tedious elements, but overall, philanthropy should not feel like a chore!

Giving and saving are not mutually exclusive. Helping others isn’t about completely depleting your own resources. As parents know, you have to take care of yourself first to ensure that you have the resources—be it time, money, or physical energy—to help others. Finding the right balance can be a challenge, but if you share your joy with others, it will only deepen your well within yourself.

Winita is a staff writer at Scooterbay Publishing Inc. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and worked as a library assistant and elementary school tutor throughout college. When she's not writing, she enjoys outdoor exercise, reading at the library, and spending time with family and friends.

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