As the saying goes, “generosity begins at home.” Any parent will tell you they are, by the very fact that they are parents, generous (sometimes to a fault). Teaching children generosity helps them to assimilate the fact there are others around them for whom they must have consideration. It allows them to expand their tolerance levels without challenging their moral values. The virtue of generosity raises their awareness not only of social responsibilities and abilities but of choices and consequences. It helps to teach the difference between pride and vanity.
Generosity: liberality in giving; giving to others without thinking of yourself
Teaching children generosity is perhaps the easiest virtue of all for parents since it is part of who we are. We are generous with our time, money, affection and advise on a daily basis.
Teaching Children Generosity at Home and at School
1. Make the word generosity the “word of the month” by posting it on the refrigerator and using it as many times throughout the day as possible. Remember to be as generous with your recognition toward the end of the month when you’ve heard it used a gazillion times as you were on day one!
2. Remind children that living “The Golden Rule” is a way to always be generous to themselves and others. Thank children for sharing their toys, their time, and their talent and remind them of how grateful you are to have such a generous, thoughtful child. This is especially important when they didn’t want to.
3. Children need to know that parents sometimes overlook bad behavior in an effort to be generous and not embarrass/upset/disrupt the activity. Let them know at those times that you noticed the behavior and are choosing to be generous. Teach children that it is sometimes generous to overlook the mistakes/faults of their peers especially when it would ruin the time for everyone else or cause embarrassment to their friend.
4. Let children know when/why you volunteer your time, money, and advice. Make sure they realize this is a social responsibility that comes with maturity and not just because “you have nothing better to do”. Their respect for you will increase, as it should.
5. Encourage children to volunteer to do something for someone else whether it’s making art work for elderly ill, collecting pennies or teaching a new game to a sibling. This will teach them not only respect for others, but pride in their own generosity.
“THE MEASURE OF A MAN”
Not— “How did he die?” But— “How did he live?”
Not— “What did he gain?” But— “What did he give?”
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not— “What was his station?” But— “Had he a heart?”
And— “How did he play his God-given part?
Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?”
Not— “What was his church?” Not— “What was his creed?”
But— “Had he befriended those really in need?”
Not— “What did the sketch in the newspaper say?”
But— “How many were sorry when he passed away?”
Barbara Recommends: Books for Teaching Children Generosity
I invite you to listen to the Power of Positive Parenting audio course to learn more.