While parenting comes with the pressures to raise a child into a productive, happy, well-rounded adult, being a grandparent can be less goal-oriented. There is often more breathing room in the relationship. That generational distance positions grandparents perfectly to help instill the value of charitable giving in the next generation.
A New Tradition
Charity and stewardship have always been important to Joyce and Joe*. These modern grandparents are aware that the world their grandchildren are navigating is very different than the one they grew up in. They sincerely want to model generosity for the youngest members of their family, in a context the grandkids will understand. So, they have started a new tradition.
Before each grandchild’s birthday, Joyce and Joe take the birthday child on a special outing. This one-on-one discussion time allows opportunities to talk about helping others and how this can relate to the child’s interests. Together, the three of them choose a charity that the grandchild is interested in supporting. Joyce and Joe then make an appointment with the organization to bring the child in for an ‘experiential gift’ of delivering the donation.
For several birthdays and Christmases now, Joyce and Joe have delighted in giving their grandchildren the gift of giving to others. For example, on a recent birthday their four-year old grandson wanted to help dogs that didn’t have homes. They arranged a tour of the local shelter that included a meet-and-treat with the resident animals before giving their donation.
Their seven-year old grandson often chooses to spend time with his grandparents giving back at the local foodbank. This year, he decided to forgo birthday presents altogether and asked friends to bring non-perishable food items to his birthday party.
Joyce and Joe’s nine-year old granddaughter loves summer camp so much, and was upset to discover that not all children can afford to go. She asked her grandparents to join a local walk-a-thon in support of the camp. Then, she did all the fundraising herself. It was a great cause and a great opportunity to connect.
When the grandkids receive updates in the mail about the ongoing work of the organizations they have supported, they save them to read together with their grandparents. This often leads to talking about ideas for future giving.
A Worthy Investment
Joyce and Joe are not only modelling generosity through their birthday gifts of charitable experiences, but by giving so generously of their time and energy for their grandchildren! Giving together has strengthened their own relationship and that with their grandkids. The values are being passed on to a new generation.
Although it is a big investment, they are delighted to see how generous their grandchildren have become. Now, Joyce and Joe look forward to the new adventures in giving the next birthday might hold. Passing the values of generosity on to the next generation is time well invested.
There are numerous ways to involve children in your family’s philanthropy. Read our blog post ‘Generosity is Caught, not Taught’, to get some practical tips on how to model generosity to the kids in your life. Or download our ‘Money Matters for Youth’ resource guide to help start the conversation about faith and finances.
Our Gift Planning Consultants are here to help. Call 1.800.772.3257 to book a free, no obligation consultation today.
*Names and details modified to protect the privacy of the individuals