Secret of giving – what are you teaching your children?

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” – John D. Rockefeller Jr.

I think Rockefeller’s quote truly defines the secret of giving. For if you have the privilege to give to someone less fortunate, that means your life is blessed with abundance.

But where do we learn this secret of giving from?

I think it’s important to realize that some individuals (okay, a lot of individuals) simply don’t possess any genuine compassion towards others.

Their view of life is so narrowly focused on their own agenda that they rarely, if ever, consider doing something for the betterment of someone else. The secret of giving is truly lost on them.

But I was given a little hope last night. Hope that there are still people out there who understand the value of teaching the next generation that not everyone is as fortunate as they are.

Secret of giving

One of my wife’s friends has a 4 ½ year old son, who not unlike others his age, has a great deal of toys in his closet, his toy chest and under his bed. As with most children, once the excitement wears off, the toy is never played with again.

His mother understands the secret of giving and thought her son was old enough to finally teach him the lesson. As she gathered up a few items of her own to donate he asked, “Mommy, what are you doing with all of that?”

She proceeded to tell him, “Not everyone is as lucky as we are, so I’m giving some things to others who don’t have as much. Maybe you could go through your room and find some toys you don’t play with anymore and we’ll donate them to a little boy like you who’s not so lucky. Whatta ya think?”

His reply surprised her: “Okay mommy, I know I can find some toys!”

A few minutes later, he came out with a handful, and then another and then another. He had managed to gather together enough toys to fill a large cardboard box – all with the understanding that he was helping out another little boy his age.

So, where do we learn this secret of giving from? We learn it by example.

Parents and families rarely take the time to teach their children about charity – how other little girls and boys are not as fortunate as they are.

There is perhaps no greater lesson than to teach a child that, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

This mother could have easily had a garage sale or sold items online, thus profiting from others generosity. But instead, she chose to teach her young son a lesson, one she plans on supporting by example as he grows and matures into an adult.

For she understands the secret of giving, and wants to make sure he does as he grows up.

As Albert Einstein once said, “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

What are you teaching your children about charity?