The number one thing that will guarantee happiness

teaching children The Spirit of Giving

In June 2013, when a cloudburst caused devastating floods and news of the calamity was projected into living rooms across the country, among the others, a young girl, Renuka Gawali, from Pune was deeply shaken. This little girl decided to do something for the people affected by the tragedy.

After seeing local kids from the mountain region donating all the money they had in their piggy banks, Renuka felt inspired and expressed to her parents a plan to collect funds for Uttarakhand. Her parents readily agreed. Renuka, whose father worked as a security guard at University of Pune, then went on a collecting spree. Urging her neighbors, friends, and teachers to donate, she also broke her own piggy bank to fill up the donations. Eventually, she handed over collections of over Rs. 2600 to her principal who promised her that the money would be sent to Uttarakhand.

Around the same time, Gokul, a seven year old from Tiruchy, Tamil Nadu, was arranging for 25 kgs of rice to be sent to Uttarakhand. After learning about the Uttarakhand disaster in his tuition class, he convinced his shopkeeper father to give him a bag of rice that he could send to the victims. Later, Gokul received small amounts of funds from his friends who broke open their piggy banks. He bought rice, biscuits, and candles and arranged for them to be sent to the flood affected persons.

In September 2015, a nine-year-old girl, Rashika Joshi, handed over her piggybank to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying that her “savings” could be used to help drought-hit farmers.

In December 2015, after unprecedented rainfall caused severe flooding in Tamil Nadu, a five-year-old girl Anahita Rathore handed over her piggybank to Collector Jayashree Kiyawat so that the money she had saved could help in the relief operation of flood victims.

Besides these examples, there are numerous instances of children being kind and showing compassion for others, even in everyday life, and not in just catastrophic or post disaster situations. The parents and teachers of all these children played an important role.

To help your children grow into a worthy human being, start them young. Inculcate in them the habit of giving and empathy towards others. Give them simple and easy to understand real-life illustrations such as this one:

Imagine you have only one chapati with you and a really hungry beggar child comes near you, looking at you, what would you do? Turn away or share a part of your chapati? The latter is the right thing to do and it shows true kindness and empathy.

Some more ideas that can help achieve this are listed here:

  • Donate toys

child donating toys

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Ask your child/children to select some toys that are no longer in use. Initially the child may be reluctant to part with them. Explain to them the importance of sharing and giving. Tell them how happy it would make the underprivileged children to now own a toy of their own (even if it’s not new). Wrap the toys in shiny new gift paper. Take your children with you when you go to distribute the toys.

·        Be a blood donor

Teaching Kids about blood Donation

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Talk to your children about why you choose to donate blood and what you hope it will accomplish by doing so. Take your children with you so that they can understand firsthand the experience of giving.

·        Extend a helping hand to your neighbors

helping old lady carry grocery bags

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Little things like carrying the old neighbor’s grocery bags up the staircase or helping them move heavy furniture or sending food across to the ailing neighbor can mean a lot. Involve your children in such activities too.

·        Save for charity

charity jar

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Create a charity jar to be used by the family when allowances are distributed. Invite children to share some of their allowance with others through donating to the jar. As the jar fills, decide as a family where to contribute the contents. You may choose to save a whale, buy gloves for needy children, or contribute to a cancer charity among others. Read about various charities on the Internet and share this information with your children to help them make an informed decision.

By implementing some of these ideas or others like them, you will be teaching your children that charity is not reserved only for emergencies. You will be helping them appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time when a catastrophic disaster occurs. Remember, while you are giving to others, you are giving your children important messages about your beliefs concerning the spirit of giving.

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