Raising Nice Kids- How Can We Do This?

I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by the fear and pessimism swirling around me because of news on ISIS, Ebola and climate change– three things on my mind now.

The monstrous acts of terrorism ISIS is doing makes me go back to the idea (or is it a fantasy?) that we should make it a priority to create kind, compassionate, and caring kids to be the next generation to stop this madness.

I hope I am raising my kids with these qualities.

My almost 9 year-old son came home from school the other day and when I asked him how the new kids in the class were doing, he said one of the kids was really shy and kept looking at his feet.

Me: “So what are you doing about it?”

Son: (shrugging his shoulders) I don’t know. He’s not really making an effort to get to know anyone.

Me: I wonder what he must be thinking, being in a new school, not knowing anyone and not having any friends. Do you think that might be hard for him?

Son: Yeah.

We didn’t get very far with the conversation, but I am hoping I planted in him the seeds of an idea, that maybe he could take it upon himself to be compassionate with this new classmate. I’ll have to check in with him soon about that.


Recently, his teacher shared with me something that he said in class:

“We were talking about class pets and [my son’s] comment was that we should include the other class somehow.  He pointed out how we also have the loft [the kids can climb up here to read or have quiet time] and the other class does not, and that it wouldn’t be fair if we had both a pet and the loft.  I thought this comment was a really nice example of how empathetic [my son] is and how he really sees things from another perspective.”

That really made my day.

A friend shared this article, which really lays it out nicely: 5 ways to raise your kids to be kind and some practical tips for how we can do this. But what got me was this finding from a study:

“The interviewees [youth] were also three times more likely to agree that ‘My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.'”

There’s something wrong with that. If we are not teaching our kids to be caring people, but rather focused on success and achievement, what does this mean for this generation’s future?

 “The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.”  — Dalai Lama

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Yves Béhar: Philanthropist?

I was on a Delta Airlines plane recently and for the first time in forever (I am NOT quoting from the movie “Frozen” here), found myself without adequate reading material. It was horrible. Especially because flights to and from New York City are LONG. I rifled through the seat pocket and found the Delta Sky magazine. In it was an article on the obscure Yvés Béhar, a Swiss-Turkish design entrepreneur.

yves Behar

Yves Béhar (from Index Award website)

I don’t often read about designers who are quietly making a difference in the world and enjoyed learning just a little bit about this interesting man. Béhar started fuseproject, a design and branding firm in San Francisco and New York. He was quoted as saying, “Objects tell stories, so storytelling has been a really strong influence on my work.” which I found intriguing, being I love how storytelling can inspire people to take action.

Then of course the word “Philanthropy” in the article jumped out at me and I had to take a closer look. A few things he is involved with:

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Fitting in at Camp Goodtimes

Boy, this summer is flying by. I have found very little time to focus on my writing– most of my energy has been directed towards spending time with my kids and putting my hours in at work.

But I did have time to write this article about a neat camp for kids who are touched by cancer in some way. Take a look!images


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Talking about Philanthropy with Girl Scouts

I mentioned in a recent post that I had spent some time talking about philanthropy with a group of Girl Scouts. Here is the Parentmap article I finally wrote about that experience.  I’d love to do more of that sort of thing!

Girls Scout badge drawn by Sydney Vernon, 11

Girls Scout badge drawn by Sydney Vernon, 11

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Raising Awareness about Hearing Loss with Seattle Seahawk Derrick Coleman

And heeeeere it is! My post about meeting Derrick Coleman and the fabulous experience helping to run a fundraising event. Read it and enjoy!

ER Pix with Derrick

Elizabeth with Derrick Coleman. Photo credit: Corky Trewin, Seattle Seahawks Photographer

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An example of the work I do

So, by now you may know I am juggling a few things in my career. I am a blogger for Parentmap, a freelancer for nonprofit work (I recently helped coordinate volunteers for an event- but more on that in another post), and I work as the Volunteer Coordinator for FamilyWorks. This is probably why I haven’t been able to post on my blog as regularly as I’d like. There are so many cool things happening and I wish I had the time to blog about them, but I will have to be satisfied with whatever I can push out.

philanthropy_tree.png I’d like to share a post I wrote for the FamilyWorks blog. We wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to create meaningful opportunities for the community to become involved with a local nonprofit. And in this case, the John Stanford International School, which is located in the same neighborhood, chose FamilyWorks as the site for its “Community Action Project.” Through the process of working with staff at the school and helping them plan the logistics for collecting the donations and educating the student representatives about what we do, we learned that it really is not that difficult to do something like this.

The rewards for both sides are so great: for FamilyWorks, it is getting donations, developing a great relationship with a community partner, and creating awareness about the issues we care most deeply about and for the school, it is creating a culture of philanthropy and educating students and their families about hunger and how a nonprofit works to create resiliency in families.

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Girl Scouts Philanthropy Presentation

Today I gave a presentation about philanthropy to a group of 7-8 year-old girl scouts. It was great fun and my 11 year-old daughter helped out. She took notes for me, recorded interesting quotes, and got me materials I needed.

From internet

From internet

It was a great experience and I’ll tell you why:

  • These girls had fantastic ideas and a great attitude
  • It gave me a chance to articulate and test drive some of my teaching tips about philanthropy
  • I loved being there with my daughter doing stuff where I was truly in my “element”
  • I really feel like these kids “got it” and learned some new ideas about ways to give back

Stay tuned for an in-depth article about the details of that event.

(I apologize for the brevity of my posts. I really want to get back into posting more regularly, but find I am stretched pretty thin these days.)

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