In the first part of this blog series, I discussed the challenges of balancing time between work and family, and making time for yourself as a working mom. Now I want to discuss a third topic that is near and dear to my heart: giving back.
As Julia Beck, Founder of Philanthropic Moms, has said, “Women are so well-versed at connecting the many facets of their community and life together with the clear vision of improving our world. And these same women are not averse to working hard to make it so. Moms rally their friends, families, associates, neighbors, employers and others in their circle to make the world a better place.”
Mom Bloggers for Social Good, a global coalition of 2000+ mom bloggers across 17 countries, conducted a survey in January to learn how many of their readers donate to charities. The results were impressive: 86% of the moms surveyed donated to nonprofits they were familiar with in 2012, and 55% made five or more donations throughout the year. As mothers, we have been called upon by nature to give life and nourishment to something beautiful and helpless. In this way we are wired to help those less fortunate than ourselves. This is not to say that fathers don’t do their part to make the world a better place, but as mothers (and working mothers in particular) we have a unique set of skills that makes us very good at it!
As mothers, and working members of society, we are in a unique position. We have cultivated workplace skills, like time-management, team-work and problem-solving skills, and know how to apply them to other areas of our lives where they may come in handy. We are leaders and role models in our own right, and we have so much to give—to both our families and our communities. When my children were growing up, it was important to me that they learned the value of service early on, and I strove to model a sense of philanthropy to them and involve them as much as possible.
There are many ways to give back as a family, and including your children in community service activities helps build and reinforce those character traits that they have been exposed to in school—the importance of sharing, generosity, and showing compassion to everyone they meet. Here are some ways to involve your family in giving back, and to develop a habit of charity:
- Help out someone in need. Involve your children in raking leaves, shoveling snow, or providing a home-cooked meal for an elderly neighbor. Help someone in the grocery store parking lot with their bags, or return the shopping cart to the stall for them.
- Donate clothes, toys, and books that your children have outgrown. Go through your child’s closet or toy bin with him periodically and pick out a few items he’s outgrown that can be donated to children in need.
- Adopt a family during the holidays to provide gifts and holiday meals. Create food baskets for a family in need and let your children help select canned goods, fruit, and other treats to donate.
- Create a “giving jar” and encourage your children to contribute part of their allowances to this jar on a regular basis. When the jar is full you can decide on the best place to donate it, as a family.
- Demonstrate to your child that every living creature deserves our compassion. Symbolically “adopt” an endangered animal, or purchase an extra bag of dog food when you stock up for your household pet, and donate it to the local animal shelter.
- Cheer up a sick child by helping your little one decorate “Get Well Soon” cards to donate to Send Kids the World.
- Participate in The Box Project, which partners sponsor families with rural families in need. The sponsoring family sends a box each month filled with clothing, food, or other needed items and offers encouragement, friendship and support to their assigned family.
- Pick up litter with your little ones in your favorite park, shoreline, or greenspace – just make sure to wear protective gloves!
- Bring comfort to a child in need by making a blanket which you can donate through Binky Patrol or your local chapter of Project Linus.
- More ideas for ways that you and your child can give back are detailed in this blog post.
Introducing your children to community service outreach will teach them that helping others is a way of life for your family, and will reinforce important character-building traits that they will need later in life. Actions always speak louder than words, and the best way to teach your children how to behave is to model that behavior. Over time your children will make giving back a regular part of their lives and will one day pass those values on to their own families.
Find a Primrose School Near You
Inspire a lifelong love of learning. Contact your local Primrose to schedule a tour.Find A School