We recently chatted with Vancouver’s very own Tara Teng about raising generous children. Tara is an ethical fashion blogger, a TEDx speaker and the CEO of Justly Market. Here are her thoughts:
This year I am focusing my attention on raising polite and generous children. My kids are 4 and 2 this year, both finally at an age where we can start practising the growth of table manners, kind words and intentionally taking the time to cultivate gratitude through charitable giving and helping our community.
I noticed that my children were ready to engage in this conversation as Chayton, my oldest, started noticing homeless people asking for assistance at traffic lights and outside grocery stores over the last few months. We had conversations about why people find themselves without a home and some of the challenges that people have when they are homeless.
It was beautiful to watch him express compassion and kindness for others in our community who are struggling. One time we bought bananas for a homeless man in our neighbourhood and every time we walked past a Salvation Army Red Kettle, I tried to make sure I had spare change in my pocket for them to both contribute.
I want my children to learn to be generous from a young age. If we establish regular habits of charitable giving now, I hope that they will continue to nurture the habit of generous giving when they become adults.
So this year in 2019, I am focusing my energy on raising generous children and I’ve come up with a few strategies to help facilitate the conversation of charitable giving with my kids.
- Have the conversations: My four-year-old is full of questions! All day long I am answering every question under the sun about how things work and why things happen. He just wants to understand the world! I’m learning to slow down and take the time to listen to his questions; it helps him feel heard and valued. But this also helps me understand what he’s processing in his mind and to discern when I need to stop what I am doing to have a deeper conversation about something that he has noticed. At times this has brought up heart talks between him and I about homelessness, gender differences, even racism and bullying. As his mother, it’s my job to help him navigate the complexities of our world and to help him grow into a more compassionate and generous person as a result.
- Include them in charitable giving: Through these conversations, I’ve noticed that my little boy has a heart for various social causes and it’s been a great opportunity to empower him to see that change is possible when we intentionally invest our resources and actions into making the world better. During giving season, our friends from CHIMP: Charitable Impact helped us get started by gifting Canadians with $10 to give to any charity of their choice. It’s real money that makes a real impact. The goal was to show Canadians how easy it is to give to charity and to help encourage transparency between charitable organizations and their supporters. I included Chayton in our charitable giving by allowing him to choose the organization that received our $10 from the CHIMP #GiveOn Campaign. It was an easy way to get him involved and going forward I’m going to allow him to pick a charity to give $10 to every month.
It’s my hope that these simple changes will establish a foundation of kindness and generosity for my children to cultivate as they grow up. At the end of the day, they will learn the importance of charitable giving by witnessing our actions but it is inviting them into the process that will help to make generous giving personal values of theirs as well.
You can also read the article on Tara’s blog.