This post has been sponsored by Salvation Army Chicago. As always, all opinions and unorthodox parenting approaches are my own.
I introduced my daughter to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when she was pretty small. This may have been an unorthodox approach to parenting a young child, but it’s been a tremendously helpful tool for teaching some of life’s most valuable lessons, including appreciation of what you have, differentiating between wants and needs, and the importance of helping others.
Physiological needs such as food, water, warmth and rest make up the base of the Hierarchy of Needs. It’s hard to achieve the other needs if those aren’t met. It’s been a good framework to discuss how lucky we are, and our good fortune begins with having shelter and food.
Our good fortune is something that we have revisited often, and we especially do so during this month of Thanksgiving. The weather here in the Midwest has gotten progressively cooler and with the first flurries appearing in the forecast for the days ahead, it’s easy to appreciate the importance of shelter, and our worry about those without increases.
As parents, we try hard to teach empathy, including empathizing with those who are homeless and/or hungry. It’s something that even little ones are capable of doing. They can understand what it feels like to be hungry, to shiver from cold, to have trouble falling asleep on the floor instead of their soft, comfy beds.
Being able to empathize typically motivates kids to act, because they also know how good it feels when those feelings go away.
Given that, it isn’t surprising that when it comes to giving back as a family, we often focus on food and shelter. That comes both through donating and volunteering, and this month we do both.
Empowering our kids to make a difference and teaching them that they can make a positive impact is like the jelly of the month club in the movie Christmas Vacation – it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And helping kids see that others want to help and that there are whole organizations devoted to helping gives them hope and inspiration.
One organization where you can do both donate and volunteer is the Salvation Army Chicago, which serves communities in Chicago, Northern Illinois and Lake County, Indiana. It offers emergency financial assistance and transitional living facilities for homeless families. They also provide grocery assistance through food pantries as well as a mobile feeding program in addition to educational and recreational programs for children, adults and seniors, as well as leadership training and character development for youth.
This holiday season, it is easy to donate or volunteer to support these programs. You can find many different ways for you and your family to support the organization and make change happen in your neighborhood here.
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