Are You Ready to Teach Your Children About Generosity?

Purple heart donation

It’s funny the things that you do not understand when you are little. For instance, you never realized that all of the other children paid for their lunches at school while you simply walked through the line and picked up your food. You never realized that the too short haircuts that your mom forced on you when you were little were not just a way to make you look like a boy. Instead, you found out years later that after your mom had fought the battle of head lice three times before you and your sister had been in school for a month one time, she vowed that she would never again have to face that threat. Instead, she kept your hair short and constantly watched for any signs of more trouble.
There was a time when children were poor and little that they did not always have to know how different they were. Perhaps, for instance, they went to school with everyone else who lived in the trailer court and the kids from the big houses that did not sit on wheels were so nice that the poorer children never rally got the big picture. Those families from the big houses that could never be moved from one location to another seemed to understand the value of donated charitable donations, but never once thought to point out that you were wearing a pair of pants that they had out grown or a warm winter coat that they no longer liked. Those big house kids just played along side you on the play ground as if you were equals.
Looking back, you now realize how fortunate you were. Even though your parents did not have the money to buy a big home or to buy you all of the clothes that you needed, through the generosity of the girl scout troop you never really knew that they collected money so that you could eat the school lunches like all of the popular kids. You lived in a special place and a special time where neighbors looked out for neighbors, and adults found ways to help make sure that children got nutritious meals, long before the time of free and reduced lunches.
Do Your Children Know the Value of Charitable Donations?
As an adult, you can look back and see that because others in your community made sure that their children would know the value of charitable donations, you were able to live in a bubble of poverty that was neither demeaning or disheartening. And while you now suspect that it must have been difficult for your parents to humbly accept all of the help that their friends and neighbors gave them, you also know that as the financial tide turned for your family your parents always taught you how to give graciously and to offer help without any expectation of fanfare and thanks.
although we live in a time where many people think that they understand the value of charitable donations, we also live in a time when generosity is a virtue that is no longer very quiet. From school organizations that broadcast their generous gifts that they give to local charities to schools that allow students to donate so that they can wear hats to school or forego wearing school uniforms, the meaning of generosity seems to be changing. For some families, however, the value of charitable donations is not about winning a contest for donating the most canned goods. Instead, it is a humble act of service that is better if it is silently given, with no expectation for reward.
In a time when donated products can be given new life in developing nations by allowing individuals to purchase used American goods for pennies of their original price, more than 14.3 million tons of donated American textiles help clothe people worldwide, there are many ways to silently, but thoughtfully give. From giving household donations to local shelters to helping disabled veterans find a way to be productive in your business or neighborhood, you can teach your children a way to help those in need in a caring and respectful way. If you have ever been on the receiving end, you know the true value of a gift quietly given.

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