Faceless giving does little to teach our kids the true meaning of giving.
When did the spirit of giving turn into the spirit of consumerism? Our kids of all ages are targeted by advertising aimed at raising the “nag factor”. The nag factor is the effort kids put into persuading their parents to buy them a particular product. Advertisers want to raise the kid’s desire for their product to the point where they will get the parent to buy it for them or to get the money to buy it themselves. It is also concerning that we are giving kids allowances and advertisers target that money too.
Are the gifts our children receive or give driven by this advertising? Of course they are. We as adults are not immune to advertising but our children are especially vulnerable. How can we counter this?
Helping charities at Christmas is one way many parents try to show their children the true gift of giving. Kids collect toys or coats or food for charities and can really learn a lot from the experience. However our children are still insulated from the consequence of their giving. They do not see the children who benefit from their charity. Not seeing the impact of their giving has to dilute the positive effect on a child.
I would argue that our children need to see the impact of their giving. This does not mean that they have to physically meet the people they help though that is an option too. What about including a note with the charity gift written by the child? The child receiving this gift or even the parent receiving this gift might take the time to reply to your child telling them of the impact they have had on that family.
What if children raise money or gifts for an orphanage? How about a video of the children receiving their gifts? What joy our children would get seeing the effect of their gift giving on those orphans!
The advertisers use powerful techniques to influence us and our kids. The power in seeing the wonder and excitement on the faces of those receiving gifts from your child can truly be as powerful if not more powerful than advertising.
I would argue it is not enough any more to give a dollar or a can of food to a charity at your local church or supermarket. That faceless giving cannot have the power to change your child’s world view and it is time we stepped up and showed our kids the true meaning of giving. Can we afford not to?