Give. This is what I hope to instill in my son. A sense of selflessness, charity, and a genuine desire to just help.
Not because people are watching, and not because you feel guilt if you don't.
My mom raised us to look at people entirely, not just at what we saw. We learned at a very young age that the man on the corner with the cardboard sign may have given his legs to fight for our freedoms, and then lost everything. A man that we looked at with pity, should be viewed instead with gratitude, and as a man of honor and sacrifice. I want my son to see that man's sacrifice, not his dirty clothes. Not his wheelchair.
When he goes to hand a ten dollar bill to the young woman holding the sign at the intersection, and the grouchy people tell him that "she will probably just spend it on drugs and booze," I want him to take that chance. I want him to give it to her anyway. Just because, maybe, and if only maybe, she may be struggling with hunger pains.
I don't want him to listen to the greedy people of the world, the millionaires that are upset about their taxes paying for food stamps or even the middle class ones that complain. If he has everything he NEEDS, I want him to be perfectly content. When I think of the hopes I have for my son, it isn't for him to be famous or rich. It is for him to be thankful. To enjoy what he has, to have everything he needs. To care that others have everything that THEY need.
It is in this spirit that I finally got around to the task of making Eldon a "moonjar" to replace his piggy bank. If you aren't familiar with the (brilliant) concept, there are three separate compartments. One for money to save, one for money to spend, and one for money to share (or give.) Didn't they turn out cute?
I contemplated letting him choose where he wants to put his money, when he gets it. At four years old, I don't think he will truly understand the choice he is making. So he will get three quarters, or three dollars each time and will place one in each section. Once he gets the hang of it, once it becomes usual for him to give, I might let him take the reigns. For now, the charity will be of choice and I think that's enough.
Stay tuned for how this pays off (haha...get it?)