Raising a Generation of Givers

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It’s already April, and if you haven’t done your spring cleaning yet, you may be a little bit overdue! The good news is that spring cleaning doesn’t need to be limited to spring, nor only done one time a year. But there is more to spring cleaning that just clearing out the clutter cobwebs. If you have kids, teaching them to clean, purge, organize and donate on a regular basis isn’t just good for keeping a tidy house – it actually is a great benefit to both your child and your community.

Integrating giving into the childhood experience helps a child understand what is beyond their home and family. They learn that others’ circumstances are different – sometimes better than their own, sometimes worse. But the important thing is that kids naturally love to help and be involved. Just think of how many times a child has asked to help with a task that’s beyond their skills. When they learn that help is needed – and that they can actually do something to help – they want in. This habit of giving to help, when learned early, enables them to develop empathy for others. And empathy for others is important to help communities thrive.

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Regular giving also helps tame the clutter monster. Regardless of what your home looked like before kids, it’s probably more noticeably cluttered after. Kids are simply an unavoidable clutter magnet. But, it’s just common sense: reducing clutter reduces stress. All that clutter is just going to distract you from good experiences at home. We’re not aiming for perfection, but living in a tidy house helps you focus on what’s important – family and togetherness.

To get the most benefit from teaching your kids to give, it’s best to start as early as possible – but it’s definitely never too late. Teaching your kids to learn to let go helps them develop perspective, and avoid attachment to “stuff.” Explain to them how letting go of the unnecessary and unwanted things around the house actually helps people in your community. To reinforce it as a ritual, make it a regular event (monthly or quarterly) and get the whole family involved. Melt-downs with very young children may be unavoidable, but always follow up the experience with something fun – like a trip to Disneyland, the arcade or the beach.

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And, coming this weekend, you have extra incentive to round up your family donations. Bring your re-useable household items (or documents that need shredding) to the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, April 12th from 8:00 am to 11:00 am to the Eco Challenge Donation Drive and you could win Anaheim Ducks tickets, an autographed hockey puck or a set of 4 tickets to the Discovery Science center.

Goodwill of Orange County needs your donations this month! Check in closets, under the bed and in the garage for anything and everything you can donate. Bag it all up and bring to any donation location. Goodwill will even take worn out clothing which can be recycled – every little bit helps create jobs and purpose for real people in your community. 

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