By Jennifer Acker, Empowering Families Program Manager
Compassion and empathy increase emotional competence. Research indicates that children who are compassionate fare better academically and socially. In what ways are you compelled to compassionately contribute to your family, society, culture, job, etc? Can you think back to what inspired you to first begin making contributions? What is the first experience you can remember regarding compassion? Many times our first experiences with contributing time, money, or service comes from an example set by a parent, family member, or community member. What examples are you setting for your children or the children in your community?
It is very easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and commercialized aspect of the holidays and miss opportunities to contribute. This year, make a commitment to coach your children to identify a need in the community and compassionately contribute their time and/or money to the cause. Choose an angel at the tree at the mall and purchase the gift together, offer to hang lights or decorate for a neighbor who can no longer do it for themselves, rake leaves for a neighbor, deliver blankets to a shelter, send care packages to our troops, make donations to the food bank and/or make a donation to a local non-profit organization. If you make a donation of time or money to a cause, be sure to include your children in the process. Explain why the donation is important, the intended purpose of the donation, and the impact the donation will have. Encourage your child include a handmade card with the donation.
Set a goal to continue to compassionately contribute as a family throughout the year. Help children understand the importance of compassionately contributing to others in our world by modeling these contributions yourself.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston Churchill
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens