Good Morning! We are in our first week of the new year, and I hope things are looking hopeful. We talked about using the new year as a time of contemplation and finding clarity rather than simply making resolutions. Having goals is important and can be a good thing–as long as the goals are reasonable and achievable, a combination of contemplation and well-thought out goals can be very satisfying.

To begin our new year, on The Ripple Effect, we will focus on communication, both with ourselves and others. Today, we are looking at conversations with children/young people about charity, giving, and being of service. Some research suggests that early conversations and modeling behaviors of charity creates feelings of compassion and caring in children that often last a lifetime.

Talking to children about charity can be simple. Broach subjects that they can understand, such as someone who is hungry, cold, or ill. Discuss how they might feel if it was them. Very young children do not always understand empathy, but it never too soon to have these conversations. Charity can be small gestures spontaneously made, a fun conversation afterward goes a very long way. When our children see us treat someone kindly, buy a meal, or do an act of service, they are much more likely to emulate us in the future.

Children can learn about money while giving as well, encouraging a child to save some money to contribute to a cause is a wonderful way to have a conversation about both charity and money. Children today are so savvy about creating fundraisers on social media, encouraging and supporting them is another terrific topic for discussion. A by-product of charity and giving is often a sense of gratitude for what we have. Gratitude and kindness are wonderful traits to instill in our children.

These conversations can fun, simple, and help us be closer to our children. They can remind us as well, to be kind, be of service, and have compassion. Something I enjoy is doing a random act of kindness everyday. Often it is as simple as holding the door for someone, smiling, or giving a heartfelt compliment. Children usually like doing this.

Next time we will begin looking at the conversations we have with ourselves. Most of us talk to ourselves harshly at times. We will work on erasing those tapes and creating healthy inner-dialogue. Until next time, be kind if you can and talk to your kids and teens!

Lori Brandt