“There’s a new game in town,” says Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the United Nations Foundation. Innovative technologies and social media channels connect people around the world like never before. Increasingly we can reach across borders and cultures to help create political and economic changes around the globe. It also enables younger generations have their voices heard as never before.
Last week at the Moms +SocialGood event, guests had a far ranging discussion on how younger generations are acting on their desires to be more philanthropic and give back. It’s a key opportunity not just to connect kids to each other but also connect kids to their parents.
“Our kids are watching every single move we make,” Ron Lieber, Your Money columnist at The New York Times and author of “The Opposite of Spoiled” reminded the audience. Every piece of academic research shows that kids are taking notice of everything we do and say.
“How do you engage parents… in developing girls into their greatest opportunities?” asked Anna Maria Chavez, speaking through her lens as Chief Executive Officer at Girls Scouts of America. “People see children as things to be solved versus an investment to be had… As adults… we (need to also) see them as an amazing opportunity to create change in the world.”
Maggie Murphy, Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine reminded us that “kids take you where they and you need to go. That’s part of the joy of parenting and having children in your life in some way.”
“This is a remarkable generation and we’ve got a remarkable chance to do some things.”
We know our kids are connected, global, and have a great desire to do more. Parents have a limited window to influence and nurture these instincts in their children. We’re trying to imprint on them the qualities that will make them good people and what Lieber calls “the opposite of spoiled.” He suggests a few ideas:
Three things you can do right now that have been road-tested!
Three jars: as part of a child’s allowance, have three jars for saving, spending and giving. You think they’ll pick a cause for the giving funds, but so often they pick a person.
Birthday parties: invite parents of kids attending, in lieu of gifts, to throw the same money they would have spent on a gift into a virtual pot. The child can spend half on a gift and the other half goes to their chosen charity.
Leading by example: explain how your family gives and invite kids into the allocation process of where the money goes.
How we share our own approach to giving has huge impact on our children. Not just the mechanics of it, but why. Why we care, why we give where and when we can, and what we believe about the power of individuals to make meaningful change in the world.
Take Action Challenge
Image credit: kids doing homework iStockphoto.com