My son was asking me the other day if it would be possible for him to begin receiving an allowance. I've recently written about my allowance dilemma, so when The Boy asked, I took the opportunity to talk to him about my thoughts surrounding it.
One of the conversation topics was allocation of the money he earned. I told him that if he were to begin receiving allowance, the expectation would be that he set aside 10% for savings and 10% for charity. The rest would be his to use at his discretion. The first thing out of his mouth when I stated my expectations was, "Mom! I don't even know of any charities. Besides, I'm 11. How could I possibly help?" This sentiment really caught me off guard.
As a parent and a Christian, I truly believe that charity begins at home. All of their lives, my children have been giving, without really knowing it. We have never had garage sales. When they grow out of clothes, toys, or books, my children have always put them aside to be donated. As this is "just the way it's done" in our home, my children have never viewed it as charity. To them, charity is simply giving money.
I took the conversation as an opportunity to teach my kids about how charity can take so many different forms. I know that in general, times are hard economically for many. Across the country unemployment rates are up, foreclosure rates are up, personal debt is rising, and bankrupcy is an all too common option for those struggling to keep their heads above water. Trust me when I say, my family has been impacted by the economic downturn as well. But because of something my dad told me shortly after my husband died, I haven't let my financial staus hinder my charitable spirit. No matter your situation, there is always someone out there that has it worse.
So, if you don't have money to give (I know I don't), maybe you have time. Instead of selling the clothes you don't wear anymore or the ones your kids have grown out of, maybe you can donate them. If you buy new blankets or sheets, maybe there is a shelter, halfway house, or even a pet rescue in your area that could use your old one! There are always ways to give back.