Teaching children to be both!
Generosity is a virtue, a Gift of Character that every child and human have within. Everyone can give to others freely just because they want to do so. Generosity begins with knowing that there is enough for everyone and when we share what is valuable to us there is joy on both sides, for the giver and the receiver.
There is a difference between generosity and charity, though. When we give to those that have any or very few of their treasures that we are practicing charity. When we give and share with others things that we value, are our favorites we are generous. Imagine if you were awakening the gift of generosity in your child you might ask them if they would be “generous and share their stuff toy or blanket with their sibling”? That is generosity!
If you were to give the blanket to someone who was in need of one, you would be practicing charity. As a family, we would like to practice both of these gifts. How can you encourage your child to be generous with their treasures by sharing them with other family members or visiting friends? At the same time, we want to practice charity by giving up treasures that others may be able to use.
Being generous with our things is one way of noticing opportunities to give and share with those we know and are close to us. It is the beginning of learning to discern when those outside our circle of the family are in need and finding it within us to give to them freely also.