Changing Our World at Any Age
This article is written especially for young readers eager to embrace the true spirit of the holiday season. Sharing it with them can help cultivate a lifelong practice of giving.
Have you ever seen someone do something that changed a situation from bad to good? Maybe your parents helped someone whose car broke down, or a teacher spent extra time after class helping you with schoolwork. No matter your age, where you live or what you own, you have the power to do good, too. What you do can make other people happy and make the world a better place. Here are some ideas to help you figure out how.
• A good place to start is to think about what’s important to you. This will help you find a way of giving back that you’ll enjoy and want to do again and again. For example, if you love taking care of animals, offer to walk an elderly person’s dog for them. If you get sad when you think about someone being lonely, visit a neighbor that lives alone or send a special card to a relative as a way to show your love.
• It’s nice to help strangers, but you can also do little things close to home that’ll make life easier and better for your family. You can call your grandma to say hello, help your mom or dad with the dishes or play a favorite game with your little sister or brother.
• You can also use your own special talents to help others. If you are a good cook, bake a healthy holiday treat to bring to someone that is feeling sick. You can read out loud a story to a younger child. If you’re strong and have lots of energy, you can help your neighbor take out the trash or do other household chores.
• You can have fun and make an even bigger difference by doing good things with others. One way to get your friends excited about joining you is to plan a “Giving Party”. Ask your parents to help you download a free guide (WateringCanPress.com/html/parents.html) that has fun ideas and activities for creating a holiday-time or birthday party or rainy day get-together.
• Giving to other people is important, but the planet needs us, too. You can practice giving by picking up litter, recycling and even turning off lights when you leave a room. When we pay attention to the environment around us, we can learn how to respond in a giving way.
Ellen Sabin is the founder and president of Watering Can Press (WateringCanPress.com), a publishing company committed to growing kids with character. Her series of award-winning books include The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving; The Greening Book: Being a Friend to Planet Earth; and The Healthy Body Book: Caring for the Coolest Machine You’ll Ever Own.
Who’s Been Giving to You?
Whether it’s time, love or things, the people around us give to us all the time. Sometimes we don’t stop to think about what people do for us, so we forget to say, “Thank you.” Appreciating what people give us is just as important as giving to others.
Here are some questions to ask yourself. After you have answered each question, think about what you can do to thank people for their kindness.
Who shared with you? What did they share?
Who taught you something? What did they teach you?
Who showed you love? How did they show you love?
Who made you happy? How did they make you happy?
Source: Adapted excerpt from The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving by Ellen Sabin.