By: Carol Weisman MSW, CSP, MOM
How many times have we all heard that children today are overindulged, self-absorbed brats? Is it true that our kids have so many things that they can’t possibly appreciate them all? Most parents agree it is, at least to some degree. When Carol Weisman’s youngest sons’ first word was “Donalds” (short for McDonald’s) and for Christmas when he was two he asked for a mobile home and an electric razor, she decided to find some way to educate her children in altruism. She took her two young sons to a local Army hospital to share cookies at Christmas and when her older son told her the cookies they gave away tasted best, she saw that it didn’t take much to show kids how good giving can feel.
In her latest book, Raising Charitable Children, Weisman shows how everybody, no matter what their interests or the ages of their children, can get involved in volunteerism and making their corner of the world a better place to live. Every chapter begins with ‘The Big Question’ and in it follows a true-to-life story and helpful hints. ‘Big Questions’ like: How can I start teaching my kids about the joys of giving when they are still very young; how can holidays, birthdays and special occasions serve as learning opportunities for giving; and how can I help my child get involved in volunteering when he or she is not the least bit interested are answered in every chapter. The ‘How to’ section at the back of every chapter investigates frequently asked questions and answers them simply and directly.
Weisman stresses that there is no such thing as a bad volunteer project, but it may take a while to find a good fit for you and your children. She encourages parents not to give up – there is something for everyone and with a little perseverance giving back to the community can be rewarding, fun and provide a wonderful opportunity for family closeness. Practical tips about how to find organizations that need help, how to determine what is the best fit for your family, and how to walk away of things don’t work out as planned are presented. Resources at the end of the book give a number of websites that give a brief synopsis of opportunities available and will help direct families to projects in their area.
If you are a parent who wants her child to have a fuller understanding of the world around him, a true understanding of the needs of others and a willingness to help when the occasion arises, Raising Charitable Children is a great place to start. Weisman does a wonderful job with this fun to read, informative book that gives every parent a great jumping-off point when looking for volunteer opportunities for the entire family.
Raising Charitable Children is published by F. E. Robbins & Sons Press and is available at bookstores nationwide, online booksellers or at www.raisingcharitablechildren.com.