While the exercise itself is straightforward, it is far from simple. Your child’s teacher will be providing in-class guidance throughout the Challenge. On nights and weekends, you might need to offer support. In doing so, you can provide your child with incredible opportunities for growth.
These are the directions we give them:
During the Challenge, JUST GIVE.
After your teacher prompts you, give something away.
And by something we don’t necessarily mean a thing.
This isn’t about giving THINGS away. It’s about giving of yourself. Being KIND.
Give your friendship. Give help. Give a high five.
Your child will be challenged to be aware of others. To look outside of themselves to find opportunities to give. Their teacher will guide them to move from their comfort zone (giving to family and close friends) to their courage zone (giving outside of their inner circle). Through increased awareness, the way in which your child views the world will shift; they will go through their days open to and acting on opportunities to give.
At some point, your child may feel frustrated if he/she can’t figure out what to give. That’s okay. Frustration may come when a child reaches the edge of their comfort zone. We encourage you to ask your child to think in a broader and bigger and bolder way. Rather than suggesting a specific gift, suggest that he look at the giving ideas interspersed throughout this site and think creatively about how to act on one. Or ask if anyone has done something kind to her that she might want to share with someone else.
Are you looking for more resources?
We offer the ThinkGive Challenge as a platform for young people to give in ways that are meaningful to them. In addition, it serves as a conduit for deeper conversations around service, philanthropy, and character. After children have completed the Challenge, parents can continue to support their growth in the following ways. These suggestions may seem small, but can hold great impact.
Make giving a priority for yourself and be a model for your child. Discuss how giving makes you feel. Giving helps us become grateful for what we have. When we are grateful, we are more likely to treat others with respect and kindness.
Model the kind of behavior you want to see in your child. Thank people who help you. Show appreciation for others’ efforts. Avoid demanding thanks from your child. Instead, set an example by thanking them when they do something nice.
Choose volunteer opportunities where you can volunteer with your child and where your child can see the effect of their actions (e.g. serving food at a homeless shelter). Your child will learn the value of giving back.
Include your child in identifying causes that interest your family and organizations to support. Encourage your child to earn the money he plans to donate, then match what the donation to show your support.
When we are thankful for what we have, we can cultivate empathy and compassion for others. Make a list of things you are grateful for—do this as a family and make a list yourself. Have your child write thank you cards.
Try going without. Choose one thing to not have or use for a week. Walk or bike to places close by rather than drive. A small change in routine or sacrifice causes us to notice the things we take for granted and helps us be more grateful.
Talk to your child about problems big and small. They cannot move to action without first being aware of the circumstances of others.