The Benefits of Children Volunteering
I never volunteered during my childhood years. I was raised to care about the misfortunes of others, to appreciate what we had, but volunteering was not something we did. If asked, my parents likely would have pointed to long work hours and the awkwardness of arranging hours without cutting into one parent’s custodial time unfairly as the reason.
As an adult, and a volunteer for 2 causes, I know that those reasons are not good enough. The benefits to children gained through volunteering far outweigh the inconvenience. Modern society often produces selfish, self-centered young people, more interested in their phones than whether or not other people have food and shelter or not. Volunteering as a child helps prevent the development of that mentality, no matter what the cause might be, by giving them an understanding of the world beyond themselves and people that think and understand the world differently than they have been taught.
In my own family, my volunteer activity has served as a way to open a dialogue with my son, who is 7, on issues that can otherwise be difficult to broach. For example, when I devote hours during the week to suicide prevention, my son will ask me questions before and after I leave, giving is the opportunity to talk about the wide range of issues that often lead to suicide, like bullying, bigotry and family problems.
Soon, my son will be eligible for many volunteer opportunities, and he already feels excited at the idea. It makes me proud that my son is looking forward to helping others. He is a good boy and the experience will only make him better.
What is so wonderful is that not only are you generously giving and opening lines of communication with your child, you are giving to generations to come. Your child is more likely to make time to contribute and to volunteer because he sees you doing it. You are walking the walk that you talk. Thank you.