On Tuesday, September 15, Barbara appeared on The Three Tomatoes show on Blog Talk radio. The Three Tomatoes is a New York based newsletter and city guide for women. Hear from the newest “Tomato of Substance” by following the link below:
Teach Our Children Well
In Paul Sullivan’s recent article in the New York Times, “Teaching the Value of Work To Children Who Don’t Need To” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/your-money/29wealth.html) , he talks about the “Good Help” and “Bad Help” that we can give our children as we teach them the value of money and financial skills for life. While Sullivan’s article focuses specifically on affluent families and children, I believe that his message should resonate with all of us who have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We each need to ask ourselves the question: What lessons are we are teaching to the next generation about the importance of money and the role it plays in our lives?
How we spend our money, time, and resources reflects who we are as a person and our values. If you are what you eat, you are also what you buy. I recently saw Warren Buffet on television speaking about the legacy he is creating for his family by choosing not to leave inheritances to his children, but rather, to give them funding for charitable causes. No matter what our financial circumstances, how much or how little we have, we each have an opportunity to teach children about philanthropy and giving back in powerful ways.
You can introduce the concept of philanthropy to children at a very young age. Here are some basic tips for getting started and talking to the young people in your life about money, philanthropy, and giving back:
- Model Philanthropy and Giving Back – Talk to children about how you are spending your own time, money, and resources
- If you want to start giving as a family, make sure you ask your children and grandchildren about what causes are important to them. Let older children and teens do the research about charities that they want to support, and come together as a family to choose where you want to donate your money and resources.
- Show them examples of other young people giving back, which can easily be found on the Internet, or through our Champions of Caring youth programs, www.championsofcaring.org
- Make giving a family tradition – Practice philanthropy in place of holiday or birthday gifts
- Get hands-on with causes so that children see the direct impact of their giving. Volunteer for the organizations where you are making your donations.
If you are interested in further information about this topic, Embrace Your Legacy provides workshops for families who want to make philanthropy and volunteerism an intergenerational affair. For more information about our Intergenerational Legacy workshops, please contact us.
Here are some photos taken at several recent Embrace Your Legacy events…
Last summer, I was walking along the beach and saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that read “Flaunt Your Humanity.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I feel that it is important to find and, yes, flaunt your humanity. Although “flaunting” sometimes has a negative connotation, I believe that by sharing with one another how we are expressing our humanity—what we do to help others, to give back to our communities—we encourage others to do the same. By flaunting our humanity, we live our legacies.
What do I mean by living a legacy? Most often, a legacy is described as something we leave behind. It is usually used in terms of money to build or fund something, such as a building at a university, a hospital wing or a library in a person’s memory. But for me, the meaning of living your legacy—your humanity—is much broader. I believe that a legacy is a gift to the future and a gift to the present. It is the core of who you are—what you stand for, how you treat others, and what you contribute to improve the world around you. You can live a legacy by the type of person you are and the way you lead your life. I think we must each live our legacy and live it now.
Because the challenges we face in our world today seem overwhelming, we often close our eyes—and our hearts—to the suffering around us. We don’t think that we have the power to change things. This is simply not so. I know that this is true because of my own experiences, and because of the amazing changes that I have seen young people affect in their communities. In 1995, after a successful career as an entrepreneur recruiting health care executives, I founded Champions of Caring, a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to educating and empowering youth to become social activists. To date, we have worked with over 10,000 young people from the greater Philadelphia region, teaching these lessons and providing programs that reduce prejudice and violence, promote caring and compassion and develop active, engaged citizens. We teach these young people to do the good work—to address issues locally and globally— but also to flaunt their humanity and live their legacies everyday of their lives. By sharing what they are doing with others, they become inspirational role models.
The process of creating a legacy is both selfish and selfless. In doing for others, we gain much more for ourselves. Is that selfish? Maybe, but its okay when you are investing so much of yourself in something so valuable.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of addressing a wide range of audiences, spreading my message that everyone can and must embrace their legacy. I’ve spoken to high school students and faculty, college students, corporate executives, women’s groups, and shared the stories of people of all ages who are using their unique passions and skills to live their legacies: the high school student who uses her love of fashion to raise awareness and funds for Darfur – or my friend who loves golf, and uses golf lessons as a forum to mentor inner city boys – or the knitter who works with multiple generations within her family to create blankets for women who are transitioning out of prison, providing them with hope and encouragement for a fresh start. After each speech, and through the workshops that I facilitate following the presentation, I am moved by the stories of the audience members – whether they tell me about what they are already doing to live their legacies, or that they were inspired by the stories I shared and had an A-Ha moment about how they can live their own legacy.
Whether it is fashion, knitting, or golf, each of us has an activity that we enjoy or talent we can share to make our communities a better place. I’d like to hear from each of you about how you are living your legacy. Whether you are using sports, creating service projects intergenerationally with your family, or working with colleagues to create a culture of caring and volunteerism in your corporation, let’s share our stories. I hope that this blog becomes a forum to share our stories, and provide one another with feedback, resources and encouragement. I look forward to reading your stories!