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Charity -Bah Hum Bug!


ackack November 20, 2008

     I just started my children with an allowance to help them learn about money. I also thought it would be a good time to introduce the idea of giving and charity. They are almost 5 and almost 7. They both seemed to feel good about doing nice things. The younger child's school makes lunches for a family shelter but they do not actually see the people they help. the oldest child has fundraisers and food drives at his school so I thought they would feel more involved if they could give to a cause or a charity of their choice. Boy was I wrong! When I told them I was dividing their allowance into three parts, the first part they could spend, the second they must save and the third part would go to charity -the protests began." But Ryan," I implored of my youngest, "I thought you liked to make the lunches for the hungry." "I do, "he said but I don't want to give up my money. Let's give them food." "Ok," I said ,"but you need to buy the food with your money." Again, he did not like this answer. The oldest I thought would be more flexible. He too , did not want to part with his money.  He told me to give up my money. I told him that I do many things to help others in need such as volunteering my time and resources to the auction committee at Ryan's school to raise money for scholarships. this still did not move him.Regardless, I still made them set a part of their allowance aside and over time they have been better at not putting up a fuss. I have found however, they enjoy donating their old clothes and toys, although at one point they thought they might try to sell them. "No way , I told them  -we can give away what we don't need." I believe what comes around goes around and there have been many times when we have been on the receiving end. I wish I could say that I have been able to instill a sense of wanting to give , unfortunately, I am only hoping that this will develop over time and through example. I am hoping to raise little Santas rather than Scrooges!

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ackack January 5, 2009

thanks, you really gave me some good ideas about how to make it more meaningful.


3kidzmom January 2, 2009

I have struggled with this as well. I have 3 boys, now 8, 10 and 12. The oldest now "gets" it, and the other two are coming along. A few years ago, I bought each of them banks that divide the money into the three categories you mention, and I got a lot of push back from them.

I realized that they were just too young to "make" them give away their money - they just didn't understand some of the larger issues. So my husband and I decided to sit down with them once a month, discuss various charities together, and decide as a family where we would donate our money (they did not have to contribute). We also do a few volunteer activities together each year, again deciding as a family where to give our time.

This has worked out wonderfully, much better than we ever imagined. We have all learned about countless organizations that help people/causes in all areas. The kids are excited to share their ideas, and willingly contribute a small amount on many occasions. But we don't force it. I think idea that they see us contributing to the community on an ongoing basis is the most important lesson, and I really believe that as they get older it will be an integral part of their lives because they have lived it.

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