The market news is sobering and scary to many of us. Our “money” is causing stress that our children are bound to pick up on in our behavior and conversation. Right now is a good time to focus our nervous energy on putting the “DO” in Donate.

Start the process with a family conversation about what true prosperity means. True prosperity means more than money and financial well-being or the accumulation of things. Remind them (and yourself) that true prosperity is defined by the richness we experience having family and friends to share our lives with — both the ups and the downs. True prosperity is found in the wisdom we have gained, the energy we have to tackle what comes our way and the humor we are able to see in everyday life.

True prosperity means being aware of the gifts we have in our life and the ability to help others in need by calling on those gifts.

Pick a project. Just this morning one found me. I was talking with my colleagues at work and heard about a working mom that had $50,000 in medical bills due to a child’s illness. They have 3 children. Her husband lost his job of eleven years one year and a half ago. He now has taken a job that pays him $10 an hour. It’s not enough. Their house is going into foreclosure. We all picked up the phone and started calling our network to see what we could do to help this family. I’m not sure where we will end up, but we will use our energy, and our gifts to try to help.

Ask your kids what ideas they have for putting the “Do” in donate. I guarantee they will have many ideas. Kids are instinctual givers. Look around your neighborhood. Ask at church. Plan to do something “anonymously” for a family that has just lost their job. Take what is happening in our markets right now and turn it into a positive. Take your time and talent and start helping. It will help you and your children feel more in control during these unsteady times.

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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