Even at a young age, children can learn and experience the power of philanthropy. In fact, it’s often when they are young that you can so easily teach them core values like generosity and kindness.

Since she was four years old, my youngest daughter has had an interest in helping the homeless. I recall the day she curiously asked “Mommy, why did you just give that man some money?” while walking down Barrington Street in Halifax. I paused for a moment not knowing if I should tell her the truth or try and distract her with something else. I opted for the truth and am glad I did.  Without hesitation, she pulled a quarter out of her own little coin purse and ran back and gave it to the man.

Now at 8 years old, she’s even more aware of her ability to give. There’s an older homeless man who frequents the intersection near our house that she has taken a special interest in. We often stop on our way home to give him a granola bar, piece of fruit or some change. Then one evening this past winter, she asked if we could bring him a hot meal. We did and it changed us all. I was so proud and impressed with her intentions. He was overwhelmed and grateful for the generosity of a child. And she was so happy, it actually made her cry.  She said it “made her heart happy to help him”.

If she feels this way as a child, I can only imagine what will become of her giving spirit as she grows. I’m excited for the good she will continue to bring and hope her heart always feels happy to help.

It’s never too early or too late to get your children thinking about philanthropy. Start the conversation with them now to find out where their interests are and how you can help them achieve their giving goals, no matter how small they may be. Need help getting started? Check out our Family Philanthropy Guide – a printable booklet with a series of questions to discuss with your family. It’s a great first step in establishing your family’s giving goals now and in the future.

A family that gives together…