Teaching Kids the Giving Spirit

holiday-joyIt’s that time of year again!!!  Let the snow fly and the frantic trips to the mall start!!!  My house has already been bombarded with holiday gift catalogs WAY before November even hit.  It all seems too soon.

So how do we manage the gift craze as parents? Limit the number of presents they get every year? Limit the amount we spend? But then how do we tell family and friends to reign it in (pun intended). Sometimes it seems like the craziness is just too much to try to control.

Between family and friends and what they see on TV/iPad/in the store, etc. It’s everywhere. But what I CAN instill in them, is a giving spirit. This holiday season, we are concentrating on GIVING. Not what the kids GET, and what is going to be on their list (of course that will come in due time), but what can we GIVE to others. It can start simply. You see a homeless man on the side of the road on your ride home … that can start a conversation in the car with your son or daughter. Giving often starts with compassion. What do they think that must feel like? Where do they go to eat or sleep? Maybe even give that person something!! I did this with my sons in the car the other day and they bring it up often. If you have an older child, go home and start researching local charities that help the homeless, look up what usually gets men/women into the state of homelessness. It will be enlightening for you both. Brainstorm what you can do as a family to help.

For families with younger children, start going thru toys. Make a pile of toys that are usually in the bottom of the toy chest, forgotten about on most days. Talk your child thru their immediate feeling of “no that’s MINE!” Talk about children who don’t have toys, who aren’t lucky enough to have all the things that your kids have. Have them imagine what it would be like to be a kid without much and to get one of these much-loved toys. Teach them empathy and compassion. Turn it into a happy moment. Have them help in choosing which toys stay and which toys go. If they are mature enough, they can go with you to drop off the toys for donation.

And remember, they are ALWAYS WATCHING YOU. When the Wegmans cashier asks if you want to give some extra money to Foodlink, say yes, and explain to your kids why. When you walk by the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign this Holiday Season, give your kids a dollar bill to put in there, and watch them beam with pride that they just helped a family in need. We are raising little humans here people, let’s make ‘em good 😉

We are practicing what we preach this year at Legacy Pediatrics and we hope you will join us. We are partnering with a local charity, ROC City Bottoms, to help bring diapers to low-income families who can’t afford diapers. This holiday season, we will be collecting diapers for their diaper bank. We will have a large bin in our waiting room for people to come and donate diapers (any type – disposable, cloth, opened packs, leftovers), diaper cream, wipes. Anyone who donates will get a raffle ticket which will enter you into one of our raffle drawings. We will have 2 drawings leading up to Christmas which will be a $50 Wegmans gift card and then the Grand Prize which is the Family Outing Fun Pack – it includes 4 tickets to a Rochester Knighthawks, game, 4 tickets to a Rochester Rhinos game, 4 tickets to the Strong museum of play, a 2017 Seneca park zoo family membership, and 4 tickets to an Intro to Fencing class at Rochester Fencing Club. Guys – this is a HUGE GRAND PRIZE!! Stop by Legacy and bring some diapers for Rochester bottoms!! We can’t wait to see how many diapers our Legacy families can bring!! We will announce winners on Facebook and on our website as well as calling each individual winner.

Here are some other giving opportunities to get excited about:

www.Kiva.org – This is a lending website where people like you and I can lend to needy people/organizations, mostly in 3rd world counties (but also in the Us) who can’t get conventional loans from banks. You can read about their projects and every month, they will pay part of your loan back. Then you can re-lend again! People helping people. Our family has lent to a woman in Kenya who needed a loan to buy seeds and fertilizer for her farming business, a woman in Kyrgystan who was buying livestock for her business, and a man in Kenya to help him install a toilet in his rental building that doesn’t have the proper sewer line. The list can go on and on – the internet can make the world so small!!

ROC the day – Tuesday, November 29th. Each year, Rochester charities come together to ROC the day and raise money for local charities. Their website is amazingly user friendly to help you look up charities or issues that are important for you to give to.  Last year, more than $875,000 was raised for charities in our area!! If keeping it local is important to you – this is the way to go! 

Heifer International – I get this magazine in the mail every year and I love it. “Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.” The website or magazine allows you to donate in a lot of different aspects, one being farm animals – you can choose to donate a water buffalo to a family in Nepal, or a goat to a family in Zanzibar and much more. Take the time to read about what the donations will mean to these families and look on a map where these countries are. Something fun and heartwarming you can do with your family and even little ones can get involved checking out the pictures of the livestock and helping pick out something to give.