Whether you decide to thank a veteran, active service member, or family member this Veteran’s Day (or any day) is completely up to you. As the wife of a soldier, I can tell you that being part of the military is not simply a career choice but a way a life. It is a choice that we recommit to each and every day, and like all choices there are both benefits and challenges. Genuine gratitude from others for the sacrifices that military families make is greatly appreciated but never required.
25 Ways to Teach Your Child the Spirit of Giving
As parents, we all want our children to grow up healthy and successful. We also want our children to be grateful for what they have been given and have compassion for those who are in need. Teaching your children the spirit of giving, showing them the importance of thinking of others, and modeling kindness are important ways to help children grow into productive and loving members of our world.
Kids who volunteer are more likely to have a greater respect for others, leadership skills, and an understanding of citizenship that can carry over into adulthood.
Child Trends, 2012
Here are twenty-five ways to teach your child to give all year long.
Giving doesn’t require that you travel to a special destination. Showing your child how to give can be as easy as being a good neighbor.
1. Mow your neighbors’ lawn when you know they are out of town.
2. Help elderly neighbors by cleaning out their rain gutters before the winter months set in.
3. When there is a storm, military personnel may be away from home helping others. Help their families by shoveling their driveway.
4. Especially on windy days, bring in your neighbors’ trash cans while they are away at work.
5. Bring a casserole or fruit bowl to a neighbor who might appreciate it, or reach out to someone who lives alone.
Pay it forward. Small acts of kindness can help someone who is having a bad day see the good in the world and help us feel positive about ourselves. Model the following positive behaviors to your child any day of the year.
6. Leave a note on a stranger’s car wishing them a nice day.
7. When you pick up your morning coffee, pay for the person behind you in the drive-through.
8. Drive by the coveted parking space at the front of the store, and let someone who might appreciate it park there.
9. When you stop to pay a toll, throw in an extra dollar for the person in the car behind you. Or, add loose change to someone's expired parking meter.
10. Offer to bag your own groceries when the cashier is working alone.
Volunteer. Teach your child how to give by giving something priceless—time and energy.
11. Volunteer to help in your child’s classroom or to chaperone a school field trip. If you can’t help during the day, offer to help with projects you can work on at home.
12. Bring the whole family to your church or spiritual center for service and cleanup days.
13. Volunteer to deliver items or staff the pick-up booth for sports and civic groups in which your child is involved.
14. Volunteer on any day of the year. Use a local volunteer matching service, such as Volunteer Match or Boston Cares, to find projects suitable for your family.
15. As a family, pick a local place to volunteer, and make it a family date once a month or whenever possible.
16. If you can’t find a volunteer opportunity in your area, create one. Use United We Serve’s toolkits to help design a service project for your family.
Donate. Giving away unused and gently used items is a great no-cost way to show your child how to help someone in need. In addition, helping to meet life-saving needs will show your child that we are all important and connected.
17. Donate clothing that no longer fits your child to local organizations or clothing banks. Drop boxes are now available in many convenient locations, such as grocery store parking lots and along town roads.
18. Give old blankets to your local pet shelter. Donate unopened pet supplies, such as pet food, cat litter, training pads, and other necessary pet items.
19. Send your child to school with an extra set of some school supplies, such as pens, pencils, folders, or paper. Leave a note letting your child’s teacher know the supplies are for anyone who can use them.
20. Give blood and consider becoming a bone marrow donor.
Give. You don’t have to give much, but monetary donations are always needed. Give when and if you can.
21. As a family, pick a cause or charity to which you are interested in giving.
22. Give your child a three-part piggy bank—one section for saving, one for spending, and one for donating. Let your child decide to which charity to donate money.
23. In lieu of a gift, give to the favorite charity of a person close to you or in memory of someone special.
24. Organize a bake sale or lemonade stand with your kids and give your proceeds to a charity.
25. Participate in #GivingTuesday. Give and/or share #GivingTuesday efforts with your friends, family, and social networks.