Today I had a short conversation with an woman at our town’s Senior Center. She expressed her opinion that children must be taught to give. Back in her day, she explained, it was just a part of our culture. We gave. In her opinion, this piece of Americana has been lost.
Have we lost our culture of giving? Americans were ranked #1 in Charitable Giving for the year 2011. Charities Aid Foundation (CAF America) states the following statistics: According to those surveyed, two out of three Americans said they donated money to charity (65 percent), more than two out of five volunteered their time (43 percent) and roughly three out of four helped a stranger (73 percent).
I believe that if you model of spirit of charity, you don’t need to “teach” your children anything. The will naturally grow and develop this trait within themselves. cafamerica.org gives some good suggestions on how to create this spirit within yourself.
I am blessed that my children are now interested and able to pursue ways to give that are both meaningful and thoughtful. Lilah’s Cupcake Club is one of those special things. I love when these girls get together. I love to listen to them share what is going on in their lives and talk about their favorite singers, movies and books.
This meeting of LCC was held during the week as most of the weekend dates are filled up with holiday events. I never would have imagined that 4 hours is not enough to accomplish all that these girls want to do. They work hard, moving from one thing to the next seamlessly, with giggles and huge smiles.
- They bake one batch of cupcakes for their family and another to be given away. This involves both setting up the necessary supplies and the clean up when baking is complete.
- They make a journal entry detailing what was baked - complete with a star rating!
- They brainstorm possible organizations to donate their baked goods to.
- They create a blog entry.
- They deliver their goods.
- And of course, they plan for their next baked good. Right now they are considering baking dog treat cupcakes that will be delivered to the dog shelter. That should be interesting.....
So far they have donated goods to the firehouse, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, and today, to the senior center. The Director of the center spoke with the girls and expressed her gratitude. She went on to explain that her daughter is coming home from college soon and she is looking for treats that are gluten free and good for food allergies. She asked if the recipe was available. Lilah is going to work to get the recipe on the LCC Blog soon!
This is one way in which I can support my child’s desire to give her time and talents to others. A random act of kindness can certainly change the course of someone's day. So in their own small way, Lilah and her friends are indeed changing the world one cupcake at a time.