With the holiday season just around the corner, I have heard many parents worry that their children have too much, do not know how lucky they are, and expect too much from Santa or with each lighting of the Menorah.
Their seven year old wants an iPad. Their eight year old thinks that because Santa has elves, the $400 price tag on the Lego Super Star Destroyer is meaningless…and the toys should be, could be, under the tree.
Some of these parents will bring filled stockings to a nearby women’s shelter. Some will delivery gently used toys to their church or synagogue. Others will collect winter coats for those in need.
But they still search for ways to teach the urge to give to their children.
First of all, such parents should be praised for reaching out to others, despite all the many items on their to-do lists and the sacrifices they have to make to ensure that the needy may also celebrate the holidays with joy and comfort.
However, it takes additional time and effort to stop and make sure that your children are absorbing your acts of kindness. And it takes creativity to turn philanthropy into something hands-on for the kids.
For parents who are looking to give that experience to their children, I recommend Penny Jar Kids.
Penny Jar Kids engages families in online giving through websites like Kiva and Heifer International. Empowered to choose the individual to whom they make a donation or loan, families can then use Penny Jar Kids’ Global Giving Bags to learn about the culture and country where that person lives. The Global Giving Bags have a lesson about philanthropy, two beautiful books, a country-specific craft and recipe, and a fact sheet about the country chosen to support. Each child also receives a Penny Jar Kids “cause” bracelet.
This holiday season, Penny Jar Kids has focused on supporting microfinance projects in Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and Peru. And the activities in each bag are perfect for a family to do together during the upcoming cold days off from school.
More important, it’s a fun gift that encourages children to think beyond their own Christmas list to the needs of the less fortunate.
Check it out at http://www.pennyjarkids.com.