Have you ever given someone a gift that you could hardly wait to be opened? It can be even more fun than receiving. Do you ever wonder how to instill a generous spirit in your children? Here is a story about the excitement of giving to others and some ideas on how to foster a lifelong joy of giving.
Fun For Them
Many years ago I was in on a secret surprise to give my dad the perfect gift. It was Father’s Day and my mom helped us four kids plot and plan. We pooled our allowances—mine was thirty cents a week at the time—and got my dad a golf hat. Now that I think about it, I see my mom must have kicked in a few dollars of her own.
The event was fun and exciting and we just knew my dad was going to love his present. We had a good celebration and finally it was time to open the gift. Did I mention my dad is a talker? Yes, he is. He had that gift on is lap for what seemed like an eternity and talked and talked. He wondered what it was. He made some guesses. Then he tried to remember what he received the last Father’s Day. Finally, I couldn’t take the suspense anymore and I blurted out, “Dad, open your golf hat!”
As you can imagine, neither of us has forgotten that moment and I still take some regular ribbing about it. That said, I spilled the beans because I was so dang excited for my dad to open that hat.
Pleasurable For You
One way you can help your children cultivate the excitement for giving is by allowing giving to be pleasurable for you. If the words, hassle, no-time, and pain-in the rear come to mind around holidays and gift giving, your children probably won’t capture the fun of it either. If instead you project a sense of delight when giving to others, your children will probably catch the magic of giving too.
Another way to encourage a love of giving is to have fun wondering together what friends and family would enjoy receiving. For example, “What’s Mom’s favorite cake? Let’s make it and surprise her!”
Creating special giving traditions can also make giving fun for children. Some good family friends always took each of their twin daughters Christmas shopping separately so the girls could buy for each other. These shopping missions were memory makers, and it was all about finding something wonderful for sister.
Giving is wonderful fun. Your children will catch the joy from you as you enjoy it yourself!
First written in the Parents’ Resource Guide Fall/Holiday 2017 Edition