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Teaching Kids to Understand the True Meaning of the Season: Giving
by: ARA
(ARA) - Teaching a child that the holidays aren’t only about receiving is not always easy in our materialistic culture. Passing on values of giving back to make the world a better place can be a challenge, especially with the pressure of holiday expectations.

However, “Kids get pleasure from seeing someone else happy,” says Charles A. Smith, Ph.D., a professor of child development at the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. “The act of giving unleashes the idea that a child can touch someone’s life.”

Teaming up with Heifer International, an organization that provides animals to poor families in 48 countries around the world, is a great idea for parents seeking an experience in which their child can find pleasure in bringing happiness to someone else.

While kids might have difficulty in understanding what it means to write a check to charity, they can easily grasp the power of giving an animal -- such as a goat, flock of chickens, cow, llama or honey bee hive -- to families with extremely limited resources.

Children delight in earning their own money to help make the gift of an animal possible for families to improve their lives through the benefit of milk, eggs, wool, fertilizer, or honey.

Some participate in Read to Feed, an educational program that teaches about places in the world where the children’s lives are much different from their own. Others “Carol for Cows” or make and sell animal ornaments and cookies; or decorate cans with Heifer International catalog pictures. The cans are then placed in stores and restaurants and money is collected to help end world hunger.

From Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaa, Heifer offers a unique way to teach a child about giving back to help the less fortunate. This year, let Johnnie honor Grandpa with a donation to Heifer International in his name. Grandpa receives a beautifully designed “honor card” explaining the gift. Grandpa tells Johnnie that giving is truly better than receiving, especially when it makes a difference in the life of someone who truly needs help. The world is a better place and Johnnie knows he helped make it so.

For more information, order Heifer’s “Most Important Gift Catalog in the World” by calling (800) 696-1918, or visit to learn about the many ways to get involved.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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