“Kids today.” “This generation isn’t like ours, it’s selfish.” “When I was a kid I walked two miles uphill to school – both ways.”
We’ve all heard variations on the theme of what kids today are not; let’s focus instead on what they can be. When I earned my Eagle Scout rank, I was given a charge, and within that charge was the following:
“America has many good things to give you and your children after you; but these good things depend on the qualities she instills in her citizens. You are prepared to help America in all that she needs most. She has a great past, and you are here to make her future greater. I charge you to undertake your citizenship with a solemn dedication. Be a leader, but lead only toward the best. Lift up every task you do and every office you hold to the high level of service to your fellow men — to finest living. We have too many who use their strength and their intellect to exploit others for selfish gains. I charge you to be among those who dedicate their skills and ability to the common good. Build America on the solid foundations of clean living, honest work, and unselfish citizenship.”
Community organizations, charities and non-profits are in constant need of help, whether it be in the form of financial donations or volunteer hours, and the ideals of service to others are as important as ever. So how do we raise children in that mindset? Here are some ideas to help you, and your family, get more involved in charitable giving and volunteerism.
Some of the families we work with assign their children and/or grandchildren a project: research two or three charities they’d like to support as a family and come up with reasons why they chose them. When their kids provide a reasoned analysis, the family makes a small donation in the child’s name. They also ask those children to follow their chosen organizations’ activities and report back at the end of the year on how or what the charities did, and whether they would like to continue supporting them next year or prefer to donate money to another organization. The donation amount doesn’t have to be large; it could just be a nominal amount. The point is to instill the spirit of giving and service in your children and grandchildren.
Another way to get involved is to donate your time and effort. There are charitable events and activities occurring every week, all around you. One of the most impactful ways to support your community is to volunteer for a local governmental official. They’re always looking for help stuffing envelopes, setting up for council meetings or preparing petitions. Call the office of a local official you’d like to support and lend a hand. So much of our country’s and our children’s future depends on decisions being made now; showing children they can make a difference, no matter their standing in life, is crucial.
“Kids today – they’re so much more responsible than we were.” That should be the phrase we say going forward.