How do you teach your child to give?
Last spring in El Salvador, my motherland, my kids and I loaded up a truck with Livie & Luca shoes and set out on a mini mission to hand out pairs to those in need. When we saw a family with barefooted children, we’d stop, strike up a conversation and ask if they would like a pair of shoes for their child. At the end of the day we drove back through the village near my father’s home and children came to see what we were up to – they are used to my father stopping by to share food and necessities. Soon the truck was surrounded and we were handing out one pair after another.
We distributed the last of our shoes but there was one girl who didn’t get a pair. My daughter, Maya, looked down at her own L & L’s, saw they might fit this girl and gave them to her, saying to me “This is a birthday present to myself.”
I’m not sharing this story to show how selfless Maya was, but to show how she found a place where giving felt good, even better than receiving. I’ve been thinking about this idea of giving for a long time. I’m always looking to find a way for my kids to give and to give happily, without guilt, with thought and from a safe space. I didn’t know if it would work, I didn’t know how it would feel but I knew I wanted to provide them with the opportunity to try.
So what I’d love to hear from you is, how do you teach your kids to be generous, kind and giving? What has worked, what hasn’t?