We all want this world to become a better place. And as parents, of course, it’s part of our job to teach our kids the good stuff like compassion, love, generosity, and kindness. But that can be difficult. Teaching your child not to bean his brother over the head with a block is a bit easier than instilling in them the desire to help others in need. Young children have a difficult time understanding the intangible concepts of compassion and kindness. We all know that children are excellent imitators (any parent who has ever cursed in front of their child after stubbing their toe has seen that quality in action!). The best way to teach children compassion is to live a life of compassion ourselves.
Let’s face it – it can be hard to live a life of compassion. Mother Teresa didn’t have to deal with Legos constantly underfoot, soccer practice, dinner to cook (and someone will complain – you just know it), homework or homeschooling to supervise, a sticky floor to mop, recycling to take to the curb, someone has peed all over the floor AGAIN, laundry to fold…the list goes on and on. Life has a way of snowballing over us. It can be difficult enough just to find time to brush our hair on a daily basis, let alone save the world.
But we don’t have to save the world. We just have to change it. And that change starts with raising people for whom compassion and kindness is as normal and predictable as bath before bed.
I developed the 12 Months of Giving project as a way to encourage families with small children to take some time out each month this year and give to others. It’s great to make monetary donations to our favorite charities, but often little ones can’t really understand just how that works. What they can understand is the physical act of taking extra blankets to a homeless shelter, buying groceries and dropping them off at a food pantry, or maybe even counting out money from their own piggy bank to donate to a charity you’ve picked together. By involving our children in each step of the giving process, from planning to execution, we are gifting them with a tangible concept of compassion. And by committing to doing this each month, we are also showing them that giving to others is important to us. Not important in a hey-it’s-December-so-I’d-
Participating in 12 Months of Giving is easy. Simply commit to doing one act of giving with your family for each month of 2012. If you’re a blogger, write up a blog post describing your adventure and link it up to the 12 Months of Giving linky party hosted over at my blog, One Hook Wonder, on the last Friday of every month. No blog? No problem! You can write about your act of giving over at 12 Months of Giving on Facebook. Of course, we’re not sharing our acts of giving in order to pat ourselves on the back! The purpose of the linky party and Facebook page is so we can support one another and hopefully provide a bit of inspiration. I hope that YOU are inspired by this post – come on over and sign up!
Nicole is deeply chagrined that her husband describes Downton Abbey as “a bunch of British people yakking about nothing.” You can find her and her shame at One Hook Wonder. (Thanks to Amy Bammel of Artemis Shoots for the photos.)
Now it’s your turn to join in the winter carnival!
What have you been pondering this winter season? All week long you’ll be able to share a post of your own (old or new is fine). Simply enter it in the Mister Linky form below and make sure you are linking to the individual post, not your entire blog.
Where it asks you to enter your name, please put your name (or blog name) plus your project name. For example, “sarah – winter thoughts”. Please do also link back to the Homespun Waldorf Winter Carnival in your post.