Before kids, my husband’s and my weekends were filled with relaxing mornings by the pool, lovely brunches and short getaways.
Three kids later, our weekends are now – more often than not – occupied by kids’ birthday parties. And, birthday parties in Singapore are “awesome”, as my children say. That’s because celebrations here can be extravagant, featuring everything from professional entertainers to incredible party venues to amazing dessert tables.
The downside? These parties come with a lot of material things, including a pile of gifts and lots of waste – typically in the form of plastic (cups and packaging) and paper. Things I’ve witnessed or experienced myself as a mother of three: presents piled high in a corner of a party room, parents lugging giant garbage bags of gifts from a play gym and the aftermath of gift-wrap shrapnel strewn all over our own living room.
My husband and I want to give our kids all the things we never had growing up. But, surely there must be a better way – especially given that even the best of toys get tossed aside after the initial novelty period wears off.
This birthday-party-circuit experience has compelled me to try to teach my own kids about gratitude and generosity – that there is more to a celebration than merely gifts. I even launched Gift-It-Forward, a platform that allows kids and adults to simultaneously donate to charity while celebrating an event.
More than that, though, it has led my family to talk about various social causes, and inspire my children to think about which meaningful causes they want to support, such as the Children’s Wishing Well charity. Kids shouldn’t feel like they are losing out by giving to a charity, so on my platform, children can choose to share 50 percent (or more) of the money gifted to them to a charity while keeping the other portion for one or two special gifts they actually want. It’s a win-win.
To me, the greatest gift that parents can give their kids is the ability to think about others and a sense of gratitude – that way, they won’t grow up to be self-entitled brats. But, I also feel it’s important for children to know that giving is just as important as getting because they will become the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who will leave a lasting impact on the world. And, that is “awesome”.
By Theresa Evanoff, from The Finder Kids, Vol. 25, December 2018
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