Saturday, August 2, 2008

Generous is as generous does

I struggle on a daily basis with the priorities of my life. I live comfortably in the middle class (most likely on the lower end, but who isn't these days). Bottom line, I have more than enough.

However, I didn't grow up like that, and I feel comfortable saying that I don't take it for granted. A number of the choices I've made in my adult life, good or bad, are a direct result of the situations around my growing up. While I always had enough, I know that it seeming like that was hard work for my parents. That they made sacrifices. They also made sure that when we had more than enough, we shared. When we didn't, we gave of our time. I was a regular volunteer at a number of events for as long as I can remember.

As an adult, I've tried to continue that. I donate when I can, I volunteer when I have time, and I even make time to do it. I'm fortunate to work for a company that takes community involvement very seriously and supports and encourages my generosity. I am lucky in so many ways.

When I became a parent, I thought long and hard about how to make sure I pass that on to my daughter. I've seen the other side, the people who think only of themselves or who volunteer and contribute, but never passed on those values to their kids. I know what I want to pass on to M. She is still a little young, since she's just starting to learn how to give you something when you ask for it, let alone share at will, but I have a plan.

We will do things to help others together. She will help make choices about what we do as a family to support our community. To help teach some good money management skills, as well as philanthropy, a portion of gifts she receives/allowances, will be donated where she chooses. Toys that we cull from her room (since I'm also trying to lead a less cluttered life), will be donated by her directly.

When she's older, hopefully she will do this and more without prompting.

In the mean time, we're working on sharing our toys, giving hugs, and this holiday season, I'll start making donations in her name. (she got her share of the stimulus to start her savings account) We're going to do our best to get off on the right foot because it is a long journey ahead.

This post has been brought to you by the letters PBN, since the Parent Blogger's Network is partnering with Generations Cures, and brought the whole darn thing to my attention. They're also running a very cool contest to get the word out, see their site for how to participate.



A beautifully written post. I started writing one about the challenges of passing on charity to my daughter - also for the PBN prompt - but wasn't ready to share it yet. Yours was inspiring!

Christine said...

It sounds like we grew up much the same way - valuing people more than things. So happy to hear how you are passing that on to your daughter.

I hopped over from Kristen's place and am glad I did... I'm sure I'll be back. :)