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31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Charity Begins at Home (Day 5)

Welcome to December’s series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.

If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story and a picture to go along with it, if possible. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post by Alison from Experimental Wifery

When I taught third-grade, I wanted to help my students give something wonderful to their families for the holidays. I didn’t want to encourage half-hearted art projects or cheap, poorly-made presents; my options were limited.

In the end, I assigned my students to spend thirty minutes each night doing something charitable for their families in lieu of homework for a week. They came up with wonderful and creative solutions they loved to share with the class.

One student watched her younger brother brush his teeth so he wouldn’t develop more cavities. Another read to her little sister while her mom cooked dinner. One young woman bragged that she went to bed a whole thirty minutes early one night—which was probably just what her mother needed.

My students took the lesson about charity to heart. During the rest of the year they started canned food drives, wrote letters to soldiers in Afghanistan, and mentored other students on their own initiative. These young girls were already generous, but after they had seen the difference just a little bit of thoughtfulness can make in someone’s day, they wanted to share that generosity with as many people as they could.

From those eight- and nine-year-old girls, I learned that charity really does begin at home. So, especially this time of year, my husband and I try to set an example for our toddler of doing things for each other out of love.

I’ll help my husband carry out the recycling. Later, he’ll give me a short rest to unwind from the day. Our son is even beginning to get the idea himself, freely blowing kisses and giving hugs when it seems like one of us is upset.

Giving to others is a beautiful idea, but sacrifice and charity for strangers can’t make sense to a child who doesn’t see sacrifice and charity at home. Thanks to my third graders, we discovered that a spirit of giving within your family is the one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children—and the world.

Alison blogs about learning to be a better woman and wife at Experimental Wifery. She also teaches English part-time at the Brookewood School in Kensington, MD.

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  • What a wonderful reminder! It’s so important for our kids to see these things at home. Thanks for the great post.

  • Beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  • “sacrifice and charity for strangers can’t make sense to a child who doesn’t see sacrifice and charity at home.”

    So very true!

  • L says:

    Love this message. I have been helping provide meals for a family that has recently had a tragedy and keep explaining this to my toddlers that we are doing this for so and so because they need our help. I have explained (as best I could) that everyone needs help sometimes. So now it seems every time we cook a meal or bake cookies they ask who we are going to help or share it with. I hope this is actually sinking in some! Love this series, it takes us back to what is important and is simple (sometimes as adults it is hard to think simple!).

  • Jan says:

    What a wonderful reminder for all of us! Charity truly does start in the home. It’s never too late to start, even with teens. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Allison Voges says:

    I know this is off-topic, but I love the baby on the chair in the picture! Isn’t that the best way to learn anything, hands-on? From cooking to compassion, right?

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