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Philanthropy is defined as altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.
To me, philanthropy is more than that. I believe philanthropy is beyond altruistic concern. I believe philanthropy to be an extension of loving other humans outside of our family and friends. Philanthropy has nothing to do with money and everything to do with caring for our human brothers and sisters in the journey of life.
“The more we give, the more we love. The more we love, the more we live.”
This is my personal mantra that I created, and one we live by in our home as we raise a 3-year-old and 13-year-old.
In a world of instant gratification, never having enough, and constant comparison to the Joneses, it’s so important to consciously shift the focus from what we are lacking in life to finding gratitude for what we do have.
Here are three ways our family is raising philanthropic kids that have nothing to do with money:
Eating dinner as a family is a big part of our daily routine. One thing we actively try to practice is daily gratitude during dinner (although there are days when the 3-year-old is screaming or some other madness is ensuing). The goal, however, is to bring awareness to what we are grateful for, big or small, so we don’t take for granted how blessed our lives are.
Acts of Kindness
Being kind to family, friends, neighbors, and strangers is such a great way to practice and embody care and love. My 13-year-old will help our elderly neighbor take out her trash and shovel her driveway. Our 3-year-old is starting to ask others, “How can I help?” It’s the little things that go a long way; no act of kindness is too small.
Quarterly Toy and Clothing Donations
I’ll be honest, our kids have way too many toys and clothes. We have toys that haven’t been opened and clothes that still have tags on them. Instead of just throwing them out, every few months I’ll sit with the kids and ask them which toys they want to give to other kids. They always ask questions about how they can help or be helpful and end up giving more toys away than I initially thought they would.
These are just a few ways that we use to raise our kids to be philanthropic that work for our family. Ask your kids how they want to help other people or what kind of activities they would be interested in doing that would be helpful. Their answers may surprise you.