On #GivingTuesday Teach Your Children to Give

HandsHoldingGiftToday, December 2, 2014 is #GivingTuesday, which is “a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give.” According to the GivingTuesday Australia website, “This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.”

I would like to take a moment to concentrate on one word mentioned in their purpose statement – families. Especially how they talk about and participate in the giving season.

Here, in Australia, families and individuals are very charitable, especially when it comes to “emergency” situations like natural disasters. Individuals have historically given more than governments when it comes to philanthropy.

As citizens of the world, we embrace the idea that helping others helps our community and ourselves. As people, we enjoy raising money to help support the mission and goals of an organization. We feel we can “end this disease”; provide education or clean water; and save animals. It’s the idea we can work together for the betterment of all.

Those who participate in giving of their ‘treasure’ understand the importance of living in a safe, secure and strong society. One where we feel an obligation to give back to society in order to provide the ‘essentials’ of a community – A Home, Food/Water, Healthcare, Education and Economic Opportunity.

During this giving season it is very important for parents to pass this message to their children.

HandsHoldingCoinsA good lesson would be to speak with our children about SMALL DONORS making a difference.  Discuss participating in a ‘gold coin donation’ program and use one of the following examples to illustrate small donations can make a great impact.

In 1938, Polio victim US President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP). The newly formed organisation turned to media stars to give the message about how a donation of a single dime (10 cents) could add up to an amount that would be big enough to fund research to find a vaccine for polio. The idea that One dime could help in the fight to end polio led to a well chosen campaign name – The March of Dimes. In the first year over US$238,000 arrived at the White House – all in dimes! By 1959, a total of $622 million had been raised. By 1979, polio was eradicated in the United States.

It’s likely your children have never even heard of Polio because of these efforts from small donors. Ask them to imagine speaking to their children about diseases that no longer exist because of their future efforts. Or maybe speak with them about the Tsunami Relief efforts in 2005 or the Bushfire efforts in 2009.

Or talk about causes that affect your family or friends. Here is a list of causes to consider:

  • AIDS Education/Awareness
  • Animal Protection
  • Environment and Conservation
  • Health
  • Hunger and Homelessness
  • Human Rights
  • Literacy and Education

The goal in these discussions is to have your children think about what their lives would be like without access to basic needs. And once you have talked about the idea of “giving back” and (I’m hopeful) chosen a cause to support with your children, put those gold coins into action.

HandsHoldingHeartFrom today, December 2, 2014 through to Christmas, have everyone in the family take their coins or money they would have spent on “treats” and collect it all in a jar. Place it where everyone can watch the pile get higher. Before the end of the year, donate the money to your charity of choice. You and your children will have participated in the giving season.