We love the idea of teaching kids about being generous – because who wants to be the parent of ‘that selfish child’?
No one, that’s who.
But kids learn by osmosis. Just by being in the same proximity as their parents they pick up our patterns of behaviour and attitudes. If you don’t believe me, try swearing once around your small child. I guarantee that will become their new favourite word (or so I’m told, of course I wouldn’t know). Quite simply, if we are not generous then they won’t be.
So, quick, be generous!
But generosity is a muscle – it requires consistent practice. Try giving some money away to a person if you haven’t done it in a while. It’s painful, almost like working out for the first time in a few years.
Here is how we can find a way back to being the generous person we hope our kids turn into when they get older. It just takes some retraining of the ‘generosity muscle’, by doing the following:
This is the hardest part. Making a start. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Take $5, set it aside and think about someone you love/like/tolerate/loathe and buy them a coffee. Just try it out, they may love it and be thankful, or they may tell you that they hate coffee and throw it in your face – it doesn’t matter either way. This is your training, not theirs.
2. Keep going
Now that you’ve made a start, find other ways to use $5 a week to make someone else’s day better. Coffee, snacks, a card or a small gift. $5 won’t buy much but the amount is not important, it is the intent behind it that matters.
Now that you are in the habit of being generous with $5 a week, take on the challenge of growing it. That can either be through multiple $5 acts of generosity or pooling more money together and making a larger impact on someone. A dinner perhaps, a donation to a charity, buying fuel for someone’s car or groceries for another family. Watch how people respond, but most importantly notice how you feel about yourself.
4. See Progress
Momentum builds and it changes the way you turn up in life. As you progress in your generosity journey, you will create different relationships with those around you because you are approaching them with a generosity mindset. You are becoming a different person now – a better version of you.
5. Bring a Friend
No one likes to travel alone…well some people do, but it’s still nice to have someone around sometimes. Find someone around you and take them on the journey of building their generosity muscle – it will change your life and theirs.
5 simple steps to work your generosity muscle and create a positive change in you, your kids and the world.
Have I missed something? I would love to hear from you!