It’s a new year, and I challenge you to teach your little ones about goal setting. Maybe it’s time for them to ditch the training wheels, learn a new musical instrument, or read that book series that’s been gathering dust on the shelf. Whatever it is, goal setting is a life skill that can be modeled, taught, and practiced from a very early age.
Consider taking goals to a fun, new level by setting a giving goal this year! It can be an individual goal or family goal, but the idea is to weave giving into your yearly intentions.
Giving goals are simple. All it takes is a discussion about the issues that matter most to your child and your family, followed by a brainstorm of talents and skills your child/family has to offer.
Issue + Skill = Giving Goal
The fun part is combining these two things in a way that makes positive change. Here are some examples:
- Your child eats, sleeps, and breathes LEGOS. He also loves being around other kids. Perhaps you have a family member who has been affected by cancer. Combine all three of these things into a meaningful experience! The giving goal could be to organize a LEGO collection and donate the proceeds (after cleaning and sorting, of course!) to a local children’s hospital or organization that supports children and families experiencing long term illness. Maybe check with your local LEGO store to see if they can add to or match your donation!
- Perhaps your teen is very passionate about combating climate change and has a knack for visual arts. The giving goal could be to create and display a series of art pieces that promote environmental awareness and activism. At the end of a set period of time, the pieces can be raffled off or their images turned into greeting cards. The proceeds can be donated to an organization that supports the environment and combats climate change.
- Your family is very concerned about local hunger. Maybe you’ve led food drives around the holidays and volunteered at the local food pantry. You are also big time movie goers and love to entertain. The giving goal could be organizing an outdoor movie night to raise awareness and collect donations for the local food bank. Ask guests to bring donations of non-perishable foods, make flyers with information about local hunger or invite a speaker from the food bank to attend, and set up a tablet where attendees can make online donations to the food bank.
- The Give Back App is a great way to get ideas for service projects, and to keep track of the impact those projects have. Set a goal to rack up a certain number of points in a month, and family members can even compete with each other to score the most points. That’s a game where everybody wins! The Give Back App is available for iPhone and Android.
There are no rules for setting a giving goal. Goals can be small and involve one afternoon, for example making and distributing cookies at the local senior center. Or they can be long term projects that engage people from all over, like setting up an Etsy shop and donating all proceeds to the Humane Society. For a ton of ideas and a way to make meeting these giving goals fun and engaging, download the Give Back App for iPhone or Android.
Regardless of the final outcome, the time taken to consider the issues that matter most to you and figuring out how to support them using your interests, talents, or skills is valuable learning for your child. It not only makes goal setting fun, it paves the way for a lifetime of community engagement.
Good luck and please let us know how your giving goals unfold!