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Volunteering is a Great Way to Show Kids Humility this Holiday Season

3 min read

For kids, the holiday season revolves around theatrics. Putting up the Christmas tree and opening presents Christmas morning. Watching holiday parades. Building snowmen and having snowball fights. But these aren’t the only activities to think about during the holidays. After, this is a time of giving and thoughtfulness. It’s never too early to learn lessons in humility.

Goodwill toward man and whatnot

Last year, my daughter and I did something for the holidays we’ve never done before: We volunteered. We took four hours on a Saturday, went to a holiday toy drive and helped out. It wasn’t any spectacular feat—I mostly loaded and unloaded things from a truck; my daughter helped a couple of nice old ladies hand out thank-you cards. It was only a few hours for one day, but I walked away feeling great, for a few reasons.

For starters, volunteering for any reason is enough to spark good feeling. We could’ve been sitting at home in our PJs, watching Lion King for the fifth time, but we weren’t—we were out doing something that ultimately benefitted others. In this case, kids who weren’t fortunate enough to wake up to a tree surrounded by presents.

Which brings me to my second feel-good point. I made sure to explain to my daughter exactly how much of an impact our volunteering had. Sure, I just carried boxes and she just handed out cards, but we were part of something meant to improve the lives of others. I remember telling her “you did a good thing today and you made people feel good.” It’s something she understood and something I want her to remember as she grows up. Doing good for others is a good thing.

Let’s also not forget the good feeling that comes from being in the company of others doing the same. My daughter had a blast with those old ladies and they thought she was the cutest thing. I had a great chat with another dad about raising a daughter and everyone kicked in for pizza for lunch. You get to see the best of people when they’re being selfless. There’s no shortage of smiles.

“To serve man”

Last year’s volunteering experience is fresh in my mind this year, and there’s no doubt we’re going back for another few hours. My daughter is excited too. She knows other kids like her are going to get to celebrate Christmas just like she will, and I think it makes her feel good to know that. She’s old enough to realize that her actions have indirect benefits and I want her to keep seeing this lesson in action.

I’d absolutely recommend volunteerism as an activity for parents and kids this season. There are so many opportunities and so many reasons to volunteer your time. Sign up for a function at your church. Check in with a local organization about their holiday schedule. Take it upon yourself to do something good for someone else—no organizational affiliation needed! There are shelters, food banks, sanctuaries and more that all benefit from even the smallest gesture of goodwill. So long as your kids learn the lesson of humility that comes with volunteering, how you spend your time or money doesn’t matter.

Me? I prefer rolling up my sleeves and contributing, and I think my daughter is developing that same preference. She’s already rehearsing her thank-yous and practicing handing out cards!

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