Charitable Children

Let’s face it; our children are growing up in a world of privilege… iPhones, iPads, elite schools, private lessons, designer clothing and ski vacations. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many Oklahoma children. What can we do to impress upon our children how fortune they really are? How can we raise them to think of others and be charitable? Set a good example. Children need to see you being philanthropic.

Start with volunteering. Introduce your child to volunteering by letting them see you doing it first. A recent study from World Volunteer Web found that a child who has a parent or mentor who volunteers is nearly three times more likely to volunteer regularly than a child who doesn’t. You can help get your child excited about volunteering by volunteering with them. If your child is interested in helping babies, sign up to volunteer together at Infant Crisis Services. Ask questions about their volunteer work and encourage them to discuss what they are learning. Support their decision and let them know that you're proud of them. Children can quickly become passionate about volunteering. Through their volunteerism, they will learn that they are not only helping others, but are helping themselves, too.

Donate. This can be as simple as inviting your child or teen to watch you write a check to your favorite charity. Explain why you chose the charity and the good feeling you get from giving to others. Ask your child what cause he or she would support if they had the money or goods to donate. If they say they are worried about endangered eagles, give a donation to a wildlife sanctuary in their honor. Encourage them to set aside a portion of their allowance or birthday money for their favorite cause. Once they are in the habit of donating and understand the significance of their donation, many children will begin their own campaigns of support. Whether it is through a lemonade stand or a car wash, support your child’s own philanthropic efforts. You will be reinforcing their positive feelings about giving.

Our children may be living in a world of privilege, but they are also growing up in a time where more focus is being placed on giving back. Schools are often requiring community service hours as a prerequisite of graduation and colleges pay close attention to an applicant’s level of commitment to philanthropy. It is important that we continue to set a good example for our children and help them build their own philanthropic muscle. Teaching your child be charitable will have lasting benefits; for them and for those they are helping.

Jo Lynne Jones
Director of Development & Communications