A special note: This blog is mostly about grandparents, but I challenge you to replace those words with parents, aunt, uncle or friend every time you read them. This blog is about all of us and the unique role we play in the lives of the children all around us.
“I love it when the grandkids come to visit during the summer. I miss the sounds of family.” That’s what one grandmother told me last week between the first wave of grandchildren and the next wave soon to be arriving.
A grandfather friend told me his grandkids would be coming shortly for a visit and he would be listening to the sounds of running feet and who knows what all else going on in the upstairs part of their home. And as he said, “It’s all good.”
Every summer I’m reminded of this fleeting opportunity grandparents have to share their stories and the wisdom that only they can speak. Children listen. Even with game devices in hand, they are absorbing and processing all the time.
We know from research that children learn a great deal about generosity by watching others. So, when a family shares in the experience of generosity everyone benefits. It reinforces the good feelings that so often accompany giving. For me, family includes grandparents.
Read about how Dawn learned generosity from her grandparents.
Honoring Lessons From Our Grandparents
What’s Really Best About a Grandchild
Grandparents often say the best thing about grandchildren is that they come to visit for a while, and then they go home. But for that short time, your role can be more than doling out fun. You can also use it to demonstrate generosity toward others and teach them a great deal about giving.
What’s really best about your grandchild is their curiosity. It sparks question and answer moments, planting seeds that grow for a lifetime. Demonstrating generosity toward others while they are with you is the best fertilizer.
Easy Ways to Share Your Generosity
- Do you volunteer at an organization doing work you believe is important? Can they share in your volunteer experience for even a short period?
- Do you need to clean out the closet and deliver donations to a local nonprofit or clothes closet? Let them help you load the car and make the delivery.
- Do you plan to send out a few donation checks? Use a little gas money to hand-deliver the checks with the grandchildren along for the ride. Let them hand over the check.
More Advanced Ways to Share Your Generosity
If your family has a foundation or a donor-advised fund, use the time grandchildren are with you to do a site visit. Or allow them to help you identify an organization for a gift. Put the computer and internet skills of older grandchildren to work researching an organization.
Allow teenage and adult grandchildren to recommend one or more organizations for a grant or gift.
Don’t let fewer resources stop you from this important role in your grandchild’s life. Let them help you imagine how to make the world a better place. Identify an organization doing that work and take them along to deliver the check or let them put the stamp on the envelope and put it in the mailbox.
Gifts from grandparents are often special and even remembered for a long time. But the gift of shared generosity will not only touch their life but the lives of future generations.
How have you shared your generosity with a grandchild?
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