I’m honored to have Emily Kirchner sharing a guest post. Emily is a freelance writer for Discount Catholic Products, an online retailer of Bibles, prayer cards, First Communion gifts, and many more. She learned the importance of charity at an early age, thanks to her mom who always brought her along when doing volunteer work for the less fortunate.
One of the greatest things the Catholic faith instills in a person is the value of charity—that generosity towards those in need is a treasured and valuable act. There’s something beautiful about kindness and its reciprocation through God, as Proverbs 22:9 says,
“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”
Acts of charity instill goodness in a person, as much as that person brings goodness to others.
Charity is more than just donations; it’s a nature within each person that grows through practice. The more you share with the needy, the greater your motivation to help some more. Through charity, love for your fellow man becomes a way of life. Since the spirit of sharing can only grow over time, it’s a good idea to develop it as soon as possible.
Raise your children to be the best Catholics they can be by giving them a head start on charity. Not only does it help instill other important virtues like service and humility in your kids, it allows them to share these values with each life they touch. You can try these tips our family uses to teach the little ones about charity:
Get Them Involved
One of the best ways to bring out the charitable nature of your kids is to take them along when you do your own charity work. Children learn best from example, so when they see their parents doing good in God’s name, they’ll want to do the same. Taking them along also gives them the chance to see that there are many things they can do to help a lot of people in need.
If you think they’re ready to go beyond just watching mom and dad, get them to participate! They can help prepare food for the hungry folks at shelters, or put together care packages to people who need them. Encourage them to give some of their toys to less fortunate kids, and let them see the smiles that brighten the recipients’ faces. When your kids learn that they can bring so much happiness with acts of kindness, they’ll be hooked on the positive feelings.
Share Inspiring Stories
While parents are a child’s most immediate role models, Mom and Dad don’t have to be the only people she can look up to. Tell your kids stories about great people all over the world doing wonderful acts of charity. Enchant them with tales of Mother Teresa’s devotion, or of Bill Gates’ generosity. Show them how big charity can get, and how it can change countless lives for the better. You can also find inspiration in the Good Book.
Show Them What They can be Grateful for
Charity comes from realizing two things: 1) that people need help; and 2) that you can do something to help. Many people tend to take the first realization for granted, which hampers their ability to learn the second realization. In many cases, people don’t notice the need for help because they don’t know what they have to be thankful for.
Talk with your kids about how great it is to have food every day, to sleep with a roof over your head, and to be able to go to school. Show them that in many places, children just like them don’t have the opportunity to enjoy these things.
Once your kids learn to be thankful, they learn the value of what they have, and the importance of sharing it with people who don’t. In the end, it’s all about sharing the goodness you enjoy with people who need it. Once you see how much good you have, it becomes a lot easier to bring it to others.