Gifts of Compassion and Gratitude


Want to raise kinder, less entitled kids? Yes please! Then according to a recent Washington Post story, you should be participating in this year’s Christmas Gift Giving program.

It’s true! The findings of a behavioral economics study conducted by Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd gives the following advice to raising moral, caring children:

  • Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude.
  • Expand your child’s circle of concern to people outside their family and friends.
  • Have your children make regular volunteer commitments in the church or community so they learn to balance their needs with the needs of others.

Shop for loving gifts for families, homeless youth, and individuals in our community OR give a holiday boost to a ministry that can put your dollars to work.

What better way to practice gratitude and build empathy than by giving a loving gift to someone in our community? If you’re still not convinced, the Washington Post author provides a further illustration:

The paper angel in my daughter’s hand read, “Girl, age 6. Wants: Undershirts.” The angel in my son’s hand read, “Boy, age 7. Likes: Dinosaurs.” My lectures about faraway starving children had previously fallen on deaf ears, but on that December day, my kids, then age 5 and 8, eagerly dashed around the store to find just the right gifts. “I think she’ll like these! They have princesses on them!” “Can I get him a sweatshirt, too? I don’t want him to be cold!”

Of course, it wasn’t my fabulous parenting that finally got them thinking. It was what behavioral scientists call the “identifiable victim effect” — the human tendency to respond more empathetically to the plight of a single individual, rather than a large group.

Whether it’s science or faith that guides you, we hope you participate in this year’s Christmas Gift Giving. You can choose from our shopping programs or monetary programs to spread some holiday cheer.

Thank you for your support!

Written by Trip Sullivan with material from Karen Weese’s article published Oct. 4 in the Washington Post

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