As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home.” If you want to begin a habit of giving to others, it’s easiest to start by paying attention to how you interact with family members and close friends. When we regularly offer a helping hand to those closest to us, we’re strengthening our “giving muscles,” making it more likely that we’ll expand on those efforts to do more good works outside of our homes. After all, kindness makes everyone feel good – whether you’re on the receiving end or the giving end.
To help every member of your family practice flexing their giving muscles at home, try the “Happiness Challenge”: Each morning for a week, have every person in your household think of another family member or close friend and ask themselves, “What’s one thing I could do to make that person happier today?” Remind family members that there are many ways to give to others, and everyone – regardless of their age – can do something to make someone else’s day a little brighter.
You may want to begin your “Happiness Challenge” by brainstorming some sample ideas to help everyone get into the right spirit. Try breaking things down into three categories: Helping Acts, Caring Acts, and Sharing Acts. For younger family members, working on a few simple ideas in any one of the categories might be a good goal, while older kids and adults can challenge themselves by aiming to complete acts of giving from each of the three areas throughout the week. The chart below may help you start your brainstorming session off in the right direction!