Stories of Kindness from Around the World

An Experiment in Teaching Children Philanthropy

--by Author Unknown, posted Jan 30, 2007
Once a year, I give my two children money. The only hitch is, they have to give it away. I give them each $100. They know it is a lot of money, so they are careful how they use it. It is their job to find out who in our community is doing things that they feel good about, and then decide who will get the money, and why.

Giving away money, even if it is only ten or twenty dollars, is a tremendous way to learn about the positive work people are doing right in your own neighborhood.  It makes us get out of our comfort zone, ask around, talk to people we wouldn’t normally talk to, and ask questions about what the problems are and what people are doing to make them better. Everyone wins. My kids learn about the community, about the power of giving, and people in the community, who are often volunteering their own time and money, feel that their efforts are seen and honored in some way.

Last year, they both chose to give their money to a shelter for runaway teens. They visited a few places that counseled young people, and felt this particular place was especially welcoming. When they handed the check to the director -- who had no idea these children were ‘philanthropists’ -- everyone was a little
surprised how good the day turned out to be.

This exercise may be repeated as often as possible. It cannot possibly fail. You do not need to wait for holidays, and you don’t need children. You can do it yourself, on any day you like.
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Readers Comments

Mohan wrote: Simple and yet a wonderful implementation.

Some ideas are worth emulating.

It's five years since this story was posted and yet has relevance even today.

Great i will infuse this idea to all my school children
Thata wrote: Excellent way to teach giving to young children. They develop their personality alround and learn a lot in the process of giving. I liked the idea very much. Thanks.
Jami2D wrote: Good idea! You are really making others rise to the occasion by your creative and generous actions. Thank you.
bharnig wrote: Wonderful idea. Thank you for a simple lesson of philantropy. God bless :)
N.S.PADMANABHAN wrote: A great idea to mend children in their young age. But children ask what do you get by giving away all you have. I answer them you earn a great amount of happiness & satisfaction resulting in total peace of mind. Really they can understand!
Aruna wrote: Simple, poignant and wonderful story.

Thank you for sharing i plan to take it up.

I am a teacher and have a class load of kids wanting to make a difference!
jessi wrote: great idea! I also read a story about a pastor who gave each of his congregants $100.00 and asked them to multiply it with, by selling a product and then they gave it to charity. The church raised over $100,000. and the congregants realized they had a special hidden talent.
Thanks for your story, Jessi
myturn wrote: I have been looking for a way to help my step daughter understand the importance of giving. We only have her everyother weekend so it has been hard to pass on our beliefs. This is a great idea. Thanks for the help.
waltzes wrote: Great idea!! I look forward to doing this with my own children!
WAYFARER wrote: You can't do better for your children than teach them the power and joy of giving.

Very well done!

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