Parents can support their children’s spiritual growth by giving them opportunities to put aside their own needs and give to others. Not only will it strengthen personal self esteem, kids will recognize the true joy of helping those in need. Have you tried these ways to share the joy of giving?
- Involve your kids in “giving” decisions. Explain to your children what portion of your family budget goes toward charity and helping others. Get them involved in deciding which causes to support.
- Make giving to others a “given.” Studies show that most generous adults had parents who also showed generosity, so be sure that helping others in need is something that your family simply does as a matter of course.
- Maintain a balance between giving and receiving. Make sure that your children see examples of giving and receiving within the family. Both sides are important for balanced personal development.
- Share your own needs with your child. Depending on the age of the child, it’s O.K. to occasionally say, “I need some help today. I would appreciate it if you took on some of my usual chores.” Then be specific about what the child can do and how he or she can do it.
- Teach them to “offer it up.” The spiritual practice of “offering it up” is simply the exercise of offering one’s difficulties and sufferings for the good of others. For example, your child might offer up their prayer on the stress of a major exam to someone who is sick or needs help. If they turn difficulties of the day into a prayer for others in need instead of themselves, it’s a valuable lesson in giving, solidarity, and love.
- Exercise your faith in God’s providence. Generosity is an attitude toward life. It presupposes the faith that God will provide and the conviction that as we have been given, so we should give.
Source: Loyola Press