As a parent, you want to give your kids everything in the world, and at the same time, teach them to be caring, generous beings. So how do you switch their mindset from “Gimme!” to “Let’s Give”? Here’s an inspiring post I came across today from Talk About Giving, an initiative that helps families instill the spirit of giving in their children. It got me thinking about the many ways we can be generous, each day, regardless of whether we have kids or not. It starts with a smile. Read on.
“She’s generous with her smiles,” a friend of mine commented recently, describing a new acquaintance. Her small observation stuck with me. That night, I turned the question on myself, wondering: am I a person who is generous with my smiles?
Cultivating a spirit of philanthropy in our children requires more than simply teaching them how to give money or service. True philanthropy is larger than that — it’s equally about teaching our children how to give of themselves. Think about the small interactions that fill your day: the barista at Starbucks, the intern at work, the parents waiting with you at the ballet studio. Consider those exchanges, however trivial, as little philanthropic opportunities to model kindness, patience, and authenticity for your children.
Recently, I’ve resolved to share more — whether it’s a genuine compliment for a stranger in line with me, deliberate, friendly eye contact with the person who’s taking my order, or just patience in the crowded post office. These become the “teachable moments” that you and your kids probably won’t talk about — but they are setting a lasting example on how to view and interact with the world.
Have you ever received a dazzling, unexpected smile from a stranger? It is truly a gift. As you move through your ordinary and busy life, remember: charitable donations are only part of the legacy you are passing on.
And now, my question for you: In what small way were you generous today? What happened, as a result? I’d love to hear your ideas. Please leave a comment below.