By Doreen Nagle
So, your child withholds his toys from other children at the playground and you admonish, “It’s important to share!”
This playground scene is a microcosm of the world in general: Sharing on a larger level keeps people humble and balanced. Besides, it feels good! During this season of joy, show your children how it’s done:
Share a passion where it will do some good. Does your child love animals? Take him to the local animal shelter where he can see animals that need adopting. Brainstorm with him about ways in which he can help.
He may want to put up a notice at his preschool about a cat at the shelter that needs a new home. When your child is old enough, encourage him to volunteer his time at the shelter or organize a pet adoption day at his school.
Share a skill. Is your child an exceptional reader for her age? Perhaps she’d like to read aloud to a group of younger children or work one-on-one with a child who is struggling with reading.
Is your child is an artist? Can he volunteer to create a poster for a local fundraiser or community event?
Help your children find ways in your community where they can use their skills.
Share some comfort. Is there a family or church member or neighbor who is not feeling well? Visit that person and bring your child along. Before you go, role-play a conversation so that your child will be able to offer some comfort to the person you are visiting.
In addition, you may want to make something together to bring along to the visit such as homemade cookies, a get-well card or a small plant you potted together.
Share year-round. When you guide your children about how to handle money and finances, teach them to save some of their money, spend some and donate some — year-round. Help them decide where they would like to contribute.
On a small scale: Teaching how to share on a large level is not as easy as teaching your little ones not to grab their toys back from their friends. You may have to repeat and repeat the “why” of sharing, but keep imagining how proud you will feel when your child catches on by himself.
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