Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, to make a difference in a way that their impact will be felt for years after they are gone. I believe one of the best ways to do this is to create a Legacy of Giving by instilling the spirit of giving in our children. While this might not be something that will get us a statue in our honor, a building with our name on it, or national recognition; it is something that is guaranteed to make an impact well beyond our imagination. A Legacy is something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation of time. Think about how incredible our community and our world could be if we instilled a spirit of giving into our children that cultivated a generation of givers.
So if we agree on the concept, what does that look like? It doesn’t mean that every time there is a fundraiser we give our kids money to donate so they know what it means to give. It starts with teaching them the importance of giving. And not just financial giving, but giving of their time through volunteering and giving of their hearts through advocating for others. When we teach children the importance of giving and engage them in their communities they begin to feel empowered that they can make a difference no matter how small they are. That empowerment is the key to children staying engaged in their communities and becoming responsible citizens. After teaching children the importance of giving we must show them what it looks like to have a spirit of giving and that they can give to others in many ways. In small actions like holding the door for someone when their hands are full, returning something that they saw someone drop, sharing their supplies with a kid in class that doesn’t have any, or standing up for a classmate that is being picked on. In larger ways by participating in a charity walk with the family that raises money and awareness for a cause, collecting canned goods for families that might not have a holiday meal, or collecting cards for someone at school who has been sick.
These are all great examples of actions that exemplify the spirit of giving, but the biggest action that we can take is to lead by example. Even if you do not have children, there are children watching you. Children are like sponges and they look to adults all around them to learn how to live their lives. They are soaking it all in; our actions and our words. This is why the concept of leading by example is so important to cultivating a generation of givers. If they do not see our words in action the spirit of giving will be lost. I encourage everyone to create a Legacy of Giving by instilling the spirit of giving in the children in their lives, by teaching, leading and cultivating that spirit. If we do this we will be amazed at the outcome and impact to our families and our community.