When I was a child, the idea of “giving back” meant donating toys I didn’t play with anymore and putting money in red kettles at the front of stores. My family took food to the local food bank and my parents helped me buy gifts for kids listed on tags hanging from the giving tree in the mall. We didn’t have a lot ourselves, but my parents always made sure we knew what “giving back” was and that there was always room in our hearts for others.
Now I have kids, and my oldest is starting to understand that there are families without food on the table, a place to live or toys to play with. Instead of getting caught up in the commercial side of the season and feeling pressure to get the kids everything they want, I know we need to teach them about helping and sharing with others. As Fred Rogers said, “The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings.”
This time of year, my social media feeds and email inbox tug on my proverbial heartstrings with requests to help those less fortunate. It’s overwhelming sometimes because there are so many worthy causes, and I wish we could help everyone. I encourage you to research the organizations you plan to support. Charity Navigator
are two websites that can help you find a good fit. If you shop on Amazon, check out AmazonSmile
, which donates a portion of the cost of your Amazon purchases to a charity of your choice.
To narrow the focus and help inspire our youngsters to “give back,” we sat down as a family and made a short list of things we can do to help others this year:
- Donate nonperishables to a food drive.
- Make gifts or give flowers (my preschooler’s idea).
- Make freezer meals for our friends expecting a baby.
- Donate clothes the kids have outgrown.
The list is short but attainable; as the kids get older, our list will get longer. Everyone in our family can participate. As Daniel Tiger says, “Everyone is big enough to do something.”
PBS KIDS offers some great resources to help kids get into the spirit of giving. You can browse episodes and video clips on PBSKIDS.org
by topic, specifically “help out
.” In the coming weeks, we’ll be watching some of the shows on this playlist together and talking about what the kids learn from their favorite PBS KIDS characters.
You can join KCTS 9 as we kick off our 20th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive
. This annual tradition is the perfect way to introduce the little ones to how they can be a good neighbor and give back to others.
Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!