“Philanthropy” is usually an adult word.

But why? Why don’t more families teach what it means to be charitable to school-aged children?

Yes – kids might absorb the concept through places of worship, or by seeing direct mail appeals in the mail pile.

But what else can we do?

A friend of mine shared this story. She has an thirteen-year old girl and a ten-year old boy. Every year, she gives each of them $500 that they can donate to charities. They talk once a month about what causes and issues they care about. They look at organizations that are working on those issues. They talk about impact. And then ultimately, the kids decide where to give. They can give it all to one group. Or they can parse it out to many.

Of course, my friend is in a financial position where this is feasible. But I think the practice would also be powerful using  monopoly money.

The key is to talk about philanthropy and its place in our lives with young people we love. We must try to build a better world for them, and also teach them how to build a better world for themselves.