Over the weekend my family participated in the Charlotte Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis walk in support of The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This is the second year we have taken part of this event with Team Christian B.
My two-year-old has had an active role in raising awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis for each year of his life and our newest addition is starting the trend as well. As a nonprofit employee, advocate, and volunteer, I understand and appreciate the work of the nonprofit, but especially the individuals who commit their time to various causes.
As a parent who hopes to raise young men who care and respect others for who they are, it is important my children are exposed to various causes throughout their lifetime. These organizations are on the front lines working towards improving the health and wellness of citizens, the equality of individuals no matter their race, age, gender, etc. and I want my kids to be right there with them.
My fellow parents/guardians/role models, I challenge you to join me in creating a culture where becoming a catalyst of positive change is inherent in the younger generation.
Here are 3 simple ways we can raise charitable children:
1. Exposure – In this day and age, we have an overabundance of resources available at our fingertips to share with our kids about charitable work and how to give back to our communities. For most of us, we read to our kids before bed. Reading time is a wonderful opportunity to share stories of volunteerism, causes involving children (for example, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation), or kids donating back to a cause. Along with reading, society is attached to it’s electronic devices, which means we can share videos from local charities with our kids. Videos and audio easily explain the work of the organization, but it truly takes hold of their focus.
2. Communication – How often we speak to our kids about giving back says a lot about our commitment to raising charitable children. The conversation needs to go beyond the initial exposure and into daily conversation. I’ve made it a point to talk to my son about doing what’s right for others, loving our friends, sharing what we have with others (I use giving his toys to children as an example he will understand). How are you talking about advocacy and awareness?
3. Take Action – Now my sons are two and two months, so their ways of giving back are limited, but they can participate in my charitable efforts. For example, joining me as we walked for a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis or attending an event through the nonprofit I work for, are simple ways of exposing and communicating causes with my kids. As they get older I will push them to research and find an organization that speaks to them. Once they make a connection I will encourage them to make a contribution to their selected cause such as donating a portion of their allowance, fundraising on behalf of the organization, volunteering their time, etc. There are so many ways to get them involved in one of the many, many causes out there.
Taking part in charity is something my kids will have been exposed to since the start of their lives. It’s important to me they will understand the importance of giving back and what it does for those in their communities and in their country. They will make a positive difference.