This month the word we are discussing is Charity. This was always one of the main reasons I started this school. The idea was that to build the very best students we could build they must learn and practice a wide variety of life skills. One of them is the ability to give to others without expecting anything in return.
This is of course difficult at first for children as they have no income and I do not believe that just going in and getting canned food off of mom and dad’s pantry shelf and carrying it to school is exactly teaching them about service to others.
So as we discuss charity it is giving of service or goods to those in need. Those who need are ones who don’t have what they need to survive and be comfortable. Our children will have a difficult time grasping that, but we can share with them the cost of food and how so many in our world today – in fact a large majority – live on less than $2 per day. If you can show them how little that buys, they may begin to understand.
The real question for me and others has been, what can our children do that is theirs and still be learning about giving. One of the ways is by sharing some of our own treasures with others. So when they outgrow their favorite shirt, or get new shoes, they can learn to share the old ones with others. Or it may be a toy that they do not play with anymore. Could they share it with a another child, perhaps one that is without toys.
In addition to that lesson, if our child receives an allowance we could encourage them to put a part of their “treasure” towards giving to a charity or a cause that is important to them. Doing these things at an early age helps to instill the concept of sharing our treasures with those who are in need.
I have several students in our school who in lieu of birthday presents they accept donations of toys or books to be given to various community groups that help the homeless or are in some way disadvantaged. When our child is able to do this, the act is not just about them anymore. They are now acting as leaders in their community, setting the example for other children in giving to charity.