I have many hopes and dreams for my three children. I want them to be kind, sincere and loving individuals. I want them to know they have a voice and I want them to know how to keep themselves safe. I want them to have trust in themselves and in me, I want them find their passion in life, and I want them be healthy. I could go on and on!
However, I wanted to share one hope for my children that is extremely important to me, especially as we enter into the holiday season. I hope my children recognize how fortunate they are, give back to their communities and value helping others. My husband and I feel that our children need to know that their time, their hands, and their hearts are all valuable tools when serving others. We try to model this throughout the year, but especially focus on giving to others during the holidays.
When I say giving to others, it is not just for those who are less fortunate. There are many beings who face hardships daily; often giving a little of our time can go a long way. I believe it’s our job as parents to help our children develop into compassionate, understanding and open-minded individuals; lessons about giving back will help teach our children these life skills.
As the holidays are approaching, here are some of the ways our family serves those in need. I have also included other random ideas and ways to give that may be more appropriate for older children (we have young ones). Your effort does not need to be elaborate; often the littlest acts are those that count the most!
- Cook a meal for a homeless shelter
- Donate toys to children in need (choose an angel tag off a tree through your church, sponsor a family, or give to drives such as Toys for Tots, Fill A Cruiser)
- Teacher and family gifts can be donations to organizations (Heifer Project, St. Jude, American Cancer Society, ect.) in lieu of physical gifts
- Donate to a local animal shelter
- Donate to a local food bank
- Go caroling at an assisted living facility
- Shovel a neighbor’s driveway when it snows, rake their leaves, or take out their garbage
- Bake a treat for your mail person, garbage man, librarian or favorite store clerk
- Write a holiday card to a soldier (include drawings and artwork)
- Deliver goodies to employees at the fire station, police station or hospital
- Read aloud at your child’s school or other after school programs
- Ring bells for the Salvation Army
- Host a holiday dinner for friends
- Choose a day to serve each other in your own home (picking up each other’s toys, help clean, show appreciation for one another, ect.)
- Donate coats, hats and gloves
- Organize books and donate unused ones