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You’ve probably heard the famous words of St. Francis of Assisi, “For it is in the giving that we receive.” But how do we translate that to real life for our children? 

When we encourage siblings to share with one another, they often do so begrudgingly. When we offer opportunities like a school supply drive or holiday toy donation to our family members, it is usually Mom or Dad footing the bill for the donated items. If we really want our family to reap the rewards of service, we are going to have to put on our work gloves and lead by example.

There is an abundant amount of scientific evidence for the benefits of altruism. There are many examples of how focusing on others not only feels good, but does us good. Of course we all want to feel happier, less depressed, and better able to regulate our own emotions. One way to grow in these areas, is by serving others.  

Depending on the age of your children, there are so many great opportunities to lend a hand. Some investigating and a few phone calls will land you the volunteer opportunity of your dreams, and bond your family in a unique way. 

When considering what type of volunteer work you wish to engage in, you could ask your family members “If you could change one thing in our community, what would it be?” or “What breaks your heart?” Family dinner discussions around these topics will start to peel back the layers of your family onion, where your hearts meet and will have a chance to make a difference. 

Some of the possibilities to serve with your children include:

Chances to do good are all around you. Pick what best suits your family and find a way to give back. You might find that you are the one who reaps some of the rewards.