Giving Back: Consider Donations Instead of Gifts
If you’re on Facebook these days, you’ve likely already seen the trend that has, for lack of a better phrase, gone viral. People are donating their birthdays to causes that they are passionate about, and requesting that in lieu of gifts for them, you give to specific causes.
Can this idea be taken offline, and implemented for children’s birthday parties? Absolutely! In fact, asking for donations to charitable causes instead of birthday party gifts, may be the perfect way for your child to give back on their special day.
You may be thinking, “Why would any child want to give their birthday to another cause?”
Aside from the practical reason of children having too much stuff and not enough space, more and more children are actually becoming excited about the prospect of giving back to their communities. This is especially true for any child who has participated in some form of a volunteer activity recently. (Which by the way, is an activity that psychologists and counselors agree your children should be doing.)
When children see that there are people less fortunate than they are, they often feel compelled to give. Instilling charitable values within our children helps them to be more compassionate, will lead to them feeling a stronger sense of community, and often makes them care more about their neighbors.
PBS reported that some parents have witnessed first hand the benefits of not receiving gifts at their birthday parties, and that the children learned valuable lessons from donating their birthdays to a worthy cause as a result. One mom mentioned in their article was Jane Watkins, who’s daughter Scout donated one of her birthdays to her favorite animal charity, and plans to do it again.
PBS said, “Watkins believes the best present Scout received that year was the lesson that ‘doing good things makes you feel good, and when Scout saw the reaction of people, and had such a great party (and some kids said it was the best party ever)—she was proud. Proud to throw a great party and proud to be different. I think that is why she wanted to do it again this year.’ Scout adds that she learned ‘that raising money for animals is much more important than getting gifts.'”
What should you do if you receive an invitation that says, “in lieu of gifts please donate to… (the following cause)?”
First off, refrain from bringing a gift anyway. Though you may believe that it is the parent, and not the child that is insisting on donations in lieu of presents, it’s better to respect the wishes listed on the invitation. For all you know, it could very well be the child, and not the parent, that wants to give their birthday to the underprivileged. It’s best not to assume that you know what’s best for the birthday boy or girl.
How can you get your children excited about the idea of donating their birthday party to a cause?
This post may have inspired you to be more charitable in your own life. If that’s the case, you don’t want to pressure your children to be charitable as well. However, you can discuss it with them, and see what they think about the prospect.
Check out this post on Parents.com, and it may help you teach your children about charity. Who knows? You may learn that they are just as excited as you are about the idea of giving back to the community at their birthday party.