Like anything else, teaching charity must begin early and must begin at home. It is not the job of our Spiritual guides or our teachers, but of our mother’s and father’s. The others can only touch upon it, but they cannot enforce it or reinforce it on a daily basis. We hear about being charitable during the holidays, especially Christmas, but charity is something we should think about all year long. But how can we do this?
When I was growing up, my mother taught me to give whenever possible. We didn’t have much, but what we did have we shared. I realize there are those amazing people in the world who pursue a life of charity by leaving their homes to help those who withstood a natural disaster and those who feed the hungry, and these are commendable, but many don’t know that there are other ways to help and assist. There are other ways one can give all year long. That is what my mother insisted we do.
In my home, we gave clothes, toys, furniture, and household items to our favorite organization like Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent’s de Paul, and of course mom’s favorite orphanage. This taught us that material things were not important and we should not become attached to these things. What we were close to was God and family.
Though my mother did not volunteer anywhere, she did write letters for those who could not write, she brought food over to those whom she knew would not be celebrating the holidays for lack of funds, and she sewed clothes to anyone who needed a new dress or woolen slippers. But, many of us can volunteer at a nearby school to read or assist with homework, or visit a local nursing home to sit and chat with those who don’t have family close by. We can spend some time with animals at the Humane Society near our home or volunteer a few hours at a hospital, library, museum, or theater.
I don’t think there was ever a time we passed a child collecting for some type of fund raiser, that mom didn’t drop a few nickels and dimes. Today, we can give a few dollars to those young boys and girls who are collecting donations for the school band or school’s athletic department.
Of course, my mother lived during much simpler times. Yet, Americans are known to be among the most generous people on earth. The problem most of us have is lack of time, so find the right niche for you and your family. Don’t become discouraged if some places require more time than your family can give. Most of the time, it can be worked out, so everyone is satisfied. Teach your children through modeling the behavior of giving not only during the holiday season but also throughout the year.
© Natala Orobello