Thanksgiving’s Life Lesson: Giving

Thanksgiving isn’t just about having a great big meal then falling asleep in front of the television in your warm home, surrounded by family. It’s about giving thanks for all that you have—including food, heat, television and loved ones. One great way to show thanks and to teach your children about having a spirit of gratitude is to make it a point to educate them about the importance of giving.

Why Educating Children Matters

According to Indiana University, children who are taught about the importance of philanthropy are 20 percent more likely to be charitable as adults. This definitely matters in terms of helping shelters and food banks stay open, but you may be wondering what other impact it has. When an individual is never taught about the joy of giving, they may be less likely to cultivate a generous, caring nature. They may also have trouble sympathizing with the struggles that other people face.

The only way we, as a society, are going to reduce the homeless and low-income population and improve the country’s overall quality of life is by fostering an attitude of compassion and encouraging people to give, whether they donate items, money or time.

How to Teach Your Children to Give

One of the most important ways to teach your children about the importance of giving is to talk to them about it. According to a study conducted by Indiana’s Purdue University, talking to children about charitable giving is a more effective way of teaching them than by simply showing them your own charitable nature.

You can always supplement verbal lessons with real-life examples through a process called role modeling. This occurs when you allow your children to see you donating time, money or items to a charitable cause. You can further support your lessons by involving your children and asking them to donate as well. Toy drives during the holiday season are a great time for your children to donate toys they no longer want. Clothing drives year-round give them the opportunity to give clothing they don’t wear. And Thanksgiving and other holidays offer them a time to become even more interactive, helping cook and distribute food to those in need.

One of the best parts about teaching your children about the importance of giving through role modeling and getting them involved is that doing so helps to stamp out poverty and homelessness in both the present and the future.

Imparting the Thanksgiving Lesson

The holiday season is a happy time for lots of us; filled with good food, warm homes and the laughter and hugs of a loving family. Sadly, not everyone enjoys these simple pleasures. For many, it’s a struggle to put food on the table and keep the lights on during a normal day, and the holidays introduce a new kind of pressure and disappointment that doesn’t exactly fill them with the holiday spirit.

But there is something you can do to help. At Homeless Hope, we work to connect you with people and communities that are in need so that you can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Whether you want to donate or serve a Thanksgiving Hot Meal or just help out at an MA Shelter, we can show you where your services are needed. At, we can help you help others.

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