The Little Voices: How to talk to the kid-driven conscience

The problem at hand: We want the kids to know the importance of giving back, but it’s not always clear how to go about it.

Where does the conversation about giving back start?

When in doubt—or in a parenting pinch—the Golden Rule has long since been the go-to philanthropic nudge we give our kids. Repetition is key, and repeat we do. We want them to have a compassionate, charitable view of the world, and often our best efforts look like an attempt to give it to them.

Suppose it’s not about giving them a charitable conscience, but rather talking to the voice that already lives deep inside their belly (the one committed to even cake sizes and take-your-turn justice). What if we made it our goal to have the kids in our communities understand for themselves what’s at stake not only for them but for those around them and let them decide what to do next:

Talking to that kid-driven conscience:

A few scenarios where the kid conscious wins

  1. The Greeter
    On the way to school, you learn of a last-minute substitute teacher. “Please encourage your students to be on their best behavior, and have fun!” What might seem like a day to cut up might look a little differently if the student has time to consider what it would be like to step into a classroom of completely new faces. Outside of following directions, what ideas does your student have that could show the substitute that he or she is welcome?

  2. The Neighbor
    Just down your street, one of your neighbors is having a lemonade stand. As you pass by, you and your child learn that the “stand operator” (who is about the same age as your child) has a sibling who is very sick, so the proceeds will go to helping to cover the medical bills. You know your kid didn’t end up getting a snack at lunch, so there is a remaining dollar in their pocket. You start the conversation by asking your child if they can see the sign and go from there. Perhaps mirroring your excitement to help, they mirror their own and reach down into their pocket and take part in a neighborhood full of support.

  3. The Holiday Helper
    Your child’s wish list is a mile long, but so is yours. Still, you grew up giving back during the holiday season and you want to continue the tradition with your kid. That’s where Daymaker comes in. With the support of a parent, kids have a chance to learn about kids similar to them in age and interests that for one reason or another will go without during the holiday season. That’s where the Little Voice comes back into play: they get to first understand what’s going on and then listen to the voice that calls them to take action. For now, that action is something as simple as brightening their holidays with the backpack or book from their wish list, and the coolest part is simple enough for your child to choose for themselves. Watch it happen here.

These little arbiters act not because they were told to, but because helping is what felt right after understanding the situation at hand. By seeking out these points of inflection, and appealing to the compassion that already exists in the child, we give them an opportunity to choose for themselves what we might want to choose for them.

Watch it in action

Looking for more? Drop one of these questions into the next car ride or dinnertime.