Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about charity

Christmas is just around the corner and many people are gearing up for holidays, family gatherings, presents, and lots of delicious food. Of course, not everyone is in this privileged position and there are millions of people who will not have any of these things.

I thought December would be a good time to write about teaching children about charity.

People who care about earth and the people and animals we share it with want to raise generous children who understand the importance of charity and giving back to society. It is a good idea to raise the concept of charity with our children early on and this can be done in a way that doesn’t scare them or make them fearful.

From a young age, I told my children that while there are many children whose families are wealthier than we are and who have more than we do, there are millions of children who have far less. We discussed children that have lost their parents and who are living in orphanages or as foster children. We spoke about schools that give children a hot meal at lunch time and I explained that for some of those children it is the only meal they get in a 24-hour period.

I tried to involve my boys in my own charity activities which included making up packs of groceries for needy pensioners, donating books to underprivileged schools, and giving used clothing to various charities.

When children are part of activities that help others who are less fortunate than they are, it gives them a sense of perspective about their own good fortune to have a nice home, food to eat, and schooling. As they get older, they will also learn to appreciate a loving and supportive family. Being generous helps children learn to appreciate what they have and be more grateful. It makes them feel useful and fosters empathy.

My children have both grown into caring and empathetic young men who see a need and are willing to put their own money and time behind helping other people.

Quote from Michael: “Children need to learn about charity because people have to work together to create a good environment.”

Every Christmas, my sons and I undertake 10 hours of community service each. Michael is auto-immune so we do their hours from the safety of our own home and, as Michael and I like to bake, our activities often involve these activities.

Last year we, the boys and I, made 150 goodie bags for the elderly residence of a local old age home. My nephews helped with this activity and the four boys baked and iced 80 gingerbread boys. I made 70 slices of shortbread and each bag contained a baked good, some chocolates, and a Christmas joke.

This year, we baked two beer-box cakes for a Christmas party for an underprivileged school. We had fun adding the sprinkles.

We are also making 150 Christmas crackers filled with three delicious chocolates for the old age home. So far we have made 40.

These are all fun activities to do with children, you can invite the kids in the neighbourhood or your nephews and nieces, and they bring a lot of joy to the recipients.

Another way of teaching children about giving and generosity is through reading to them.

I will never forget the scene from Little Women when Marmee asks her four daughters if they will give their Christmas breakfast away to a poor family:

“‘Merry Christmas, little daughters! I’m glad you began at once, and hope you will keep on. But I want to say one word before we sit down. Not far away from here lies a poor woman with a little newborn baby. Six children are huddled into one bed to keep from freezing, for they have no fire. There is nothing to eat over there; and the oldest boy came to tell me they were suffering hunger and cold. My girls, will you give them your breakfast as a Christmas present?’

They were all unusually hungry, having waited nearly an hour, and for a minute no one spoke; only a minute, for Jo exclaimed impetuously,—

‘I’m so glad you came before we began!’

‘May I go and help carry the things to the poor little children?’ asked Beth, eagerly.

‘I shall take the cream and the muffins,’ added Amy, heroically giving up the articles she most liked.”

This is just one of many wonderful books that teach children about sharing, giving and the real meaning of Christmas.

Another, one of my personal favourites, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Book Quotes. QuotesGram
Picture credit: https://quotesgram.com/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-book-quotes/

I must admit that every time I read that quote I get goosebumps.

This is the last Growing Bookworms post for 2021. If you celebrate, I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a happy holiday period.

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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50 Comments on “Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about charity”

  1. People love the opportunity to show and share love. Given the chance, children will see the value and grow into kind, caring adults! Love the idea of the goodie bags. I know when I was in the nursing facility, we received several such blessings from individuals, businesses, and churches. It was a mood elevator to be sure.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Staci Troilo says:

    I love that Seuss quote, too. This is a season for compassion. How wonderful that you’re teaching your children about the value of charity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Staci, charity, which is actually called community service here and covers a broader spectrum than gifting material items but also includes gifts of time and intellectual resources, is a very big thing here in South Africa. It is taught in all the schools and the children must do a certain number of community service hours in a year. That doesn’t detract from the pleasure the children get from learning to share and give back to society.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m glad you noted that charity also includes gifts of time and intellectual resources.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Staci Troilo says:

        I love that, Robbie. My kids had to do a community service project in high school in order to graduate, but they both had more than enough charitable works in their private lives to easily cover the requirement. But it’s a one-time thing in that school district. I think it would be so beneficial to students and the community if it was required every year.

        I’m sure you’re familiar with the Catholic Church’s “time, talent, and treasure” definition of charity. They talk a lot about it at Lent, but it’s really a daily thing. I absolutely agree that time and intellectual resources count. And I love that you could use your love of baking in such a positive way. 💕

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Staci, I am familiar with the Catholic Church’s definition of charity. It was my early years at a convent school and my families involvement with the church that set me on the path I follow. My teachers were nuns during those years, and they were wonderful women who did much to encourage my love of reading and learning. I only have good memories of, and thoughts about, my years as a Catholic. The reason I don’t attend a physical church any more is because of all the manmade noise that occurs within the hierarchy of the church. I am a bit of a free thinker and can’t be a hypocrite. I do still contribute to the church and its causes and participate in some things.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Staci Troilo says:

          Please don’t think I was lecturing you in any manner. (If that’s how you took it, I apologize. It wasn’t my intent.) I remembered you mentioning being raised Catholic, so I knew you’d be familiar with that definition of charity. I’m glad you have good memories of your childhood in the faith, and even though I still practice, I completely agree with you about human interference tainting what the Church was supposed to represent. Believe me, I don’t judge. I’m in no position to cast the first, or any subsequent, stone.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Staci, I never took it that way at all. I was just saying that I enjoyed my years as part of the Catholic Church. It has had a lot of bad press lately, but all my experiences and memories are positive. I don’t always do a good job of expressing my thoughts in comments. Have a wonderful weekend.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Staci Troilo says:

          I have the same concerns when writing comments. Too bad we don’t have facial expressions and tone to rely on. Who would have guessed they help as much as they do?

          Have a great weekend!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    Today, I am over at Writing to be Read with a post about teaching children about charity. Thank you for hosting me, Kaye Lynne Booth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robbie, your contributions to “Writing to be Read” are always loved and appreciated. I am happy to host you and have you as a part of my blog team. 🙂

      I think it is great that so much emphasis is put on teaching charity there. When I was working in the long term care facility, we had groups of children around the holidays that came in and gave out gifts. It always lit up faces for the residents. Often they would put on singing programs during their visits. Do the children there ever go in and entertain the old folks? This always went over quite well at our facility.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Kaye, the children [high school] used to go and read to the elderly people. For the past 20 months this has not been possible and all such programmes have been suspended. The cakes we made were for a Christmas party and some staff from my division attended and took the gifts and food. I didn’t because I have to many vulnerable people in my house so have to be ultra careful of covid. It is a shame and I hope it changes next year.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Darlene says:

    That quote from the Grinch gets to me every time. Charity begins at home and you are doing an excellent job of showing, not telling, your children all about it. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  5. beetleypete says:

    You have set a great example indeed, and one that I am sure your boys will continue with. Well done, Robbie.
    (My stepdaughter takes her son ( now7) to an old people’s home every year to give out sweets to the residents)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • HI Pete, that is a lovely idea of your step daughter’s. It is good to teach children to be caring and kind towards others, especially the elderly who are often overlooked. I take special pains to do something nice for the old age home. Last spring, we donated a small pot plant to each resident.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. It’s a valuable lesson for children to learn, and you’ve taught your boys well, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Robbie your are such an inspiration to your boys and to us all.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I fully agree with Annette. Cant write it better! 🙂 xx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Frank Hubeny says:

    Beautiful story from Little Women about charity.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Thank you for this important reminder, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jim Borden says:

    such wonderful ways to get your children involved in charitable activities at a young age. it’s something I wish I had done a better job of with my own children…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. memadtwo says:

    I’m quite sure the gifts made by you and your boys will mean much more than any storebought ones. The example you set is the best teaching.

    I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas too. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. petespringerauthor says:

    You are such an excellent parent to teach your children this lesson. Showing charity and having kids participate is the best way to teach them this valuable lesson rather than just talking about it. I used to help one of my coworkers who directed a children’s Christmas choir. The kids used to go to care homes and sing. Seeing those old faces light up was quite the reward. Their last performance was at a theater in town. I loved it because they had a dressing room and felt like stars.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Pete, my sons school has always sung Christmas Carols at a venue that houses a lot of refugees and migrants from other African countries. This hasn’t happened for the past two years sadly. Singing is very joyous and a lovely way to bring happiness to people. Gregory has a well develop social conscious, more so than Michael, although Michael elected not to receive birthday gifts when he turned 6 and rather to get money to be donated to charity. He decided that on his own.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Baydreamer says:

    What a great example you have shown to your children, Robbie. Giving in any way is the greatest gift. When my children were younger, they went on several mission trips through our church, building homes from hurricane destruction. We have all helped in soup kitchens and our church’s own homeless shelter. And since I’m a baker, too, I have baked for several charity events. We have also sung at retirement homes, and to see the smiles on the resident’s faces is enough to warm our hearts. There are so many ways to help others who are in need and there is great satisfaction in doing so. Thank you for this lovely post. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lauren, I am very pleased to know that you do all these lovely things for your community. It makes more for a much better environment for everyone. My church has a soup kitchen too, but I was never able to help with that as I work full time. I was the convener of the Sunday School for 7 years. Those were lovely years and my own boys were young and used to come with me every week.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. The way you do it–that’s how it’s done, Robbie. Good article.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. olganm says:

    You are so right, Robbie. It is important that children learn about charity early and also that they participate in such activities and realise how important their contributions are, so they continue to do their best all their lives. Lovely initiatives and great projects all, Robbie. Thanks for sharing this post and for the inspiration. And I hope you and your family enjoy a lovely holiday season.

    Liked by 2 people


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