All of Life’s Riches

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are relatively well off and can give our kids whatever they want. But how can we be generous without spoiling them rotten?

A: First of all, change your perspective: think in terms of giving them what they need instead of what they want. That said, if by “generous” you mean giving your time and love to your children, there’s no need to limit your generosity. The kids will benefit from spending time with you and your wife (and you will too), whether you’re just hanging out, taking walks, talking, or doing something more structured–none of which needs to cost anything at all.

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Encouraging generosity

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have always been actively involved in worthwhile causes and regularly volunteer at an organization that helps disadvantaged people in our community. Our children are now eight and ten. Is it too early to teach them the importance of generosity, and how do we do it?

A: Congrats to both of you for not only choosing to be part of such a worthwhile cause, but also for wanting to grow the spirit of generosity in your children. Communities all across America need more people like you, especially since many of them don’t have enough funding to help those in need.

The simple answer to your question is that it’s never too early (or too late, for that matter) to teach your children about altruism and to lay the groundwork for a lifetime commitment to helping less fortunate than themselves. This is particularly important since they live in a “me” centered society, where far too many people put their own needs ahead of others’, or ignore other people’s misfortunes altogether.
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