17 February 2018

Getting Your Child Involved in Charity

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Our children are more than capable of empathy, and can be surprisingly effective advocates of the poor. Our society, however, teaches them to want more for themselves. So, how can we help the young among us get involved in helping those in need?

There are many ways that we can help our children to cultivate their social conscience.

1. Pray with your children. If you know someone who is sick, or if your child is learning about a particular country in school, pray with them about these people. If you, as a family, can adopt a child or donate to a particular cause, pray together for them/it.

2. Involve your children in what you’re doing. When you’re choosing an organisation to support, ask your child’s opinion. Show them that they’re not too young to care about charity.

3. Be an example. Bring clothes you don’t wear to your local charity shop. Allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate themselves. If you are cooking a meal for a sick friend, visiting an elderly church member or sorting clothes at a shelter, take your children along where possible.

4. Explain how money works. When your children are ready to begin receiving pocket money, teach them how to set goals and save for a toy and ask if they would like to set money aside for giving. Help them to set up jars (or bank accounts) for “wants” and for “gifts” and let them choose how much and how often they contribute to both.

5. Combine activities. For example, instead of receiving presents, birthday parties could generate toys for sick children. Going on a trip to the zoo, can be a chance to explain how important donors and volunteers are.

6. Pursue your child’s interests. If they like baking, you could organise a bake sale for the homeless. If they have a school friend from overseas maybe you could raise money for the poor in their country. Whatever their interests, you can funnel your child’s passions into community service. “When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.” Bono

Rachel Browne

Camps & Mission

Executive Manager Scripture Union ROI