We all want to raise our children to be kind and generous. Here’s how you can start today: by modeling these same behaviors and traits you want your children to inherit. Be a good person yourself and they will want to follow in your footsteps. A few years back my friend and I started a Non-Profit called Making Spirits Bright (the same name as my publishing company). Our main goal was to provide opportunties to our family and friends to get out there and make a difference. Yes, we can all easily donate a dollar at the register at the grocery store. But to donate your time? Taking your free time and giving it up to benefit others? This, to me, is such an important way to teach your children to help others. I am going to be bold in stating my opinion here, I don’t believe it when people say “I don’t have the time.” Make the time. It will make a difference. I promise.

Above are a few books that help teach the message that goes along with making spirits bright, “It is far better to give than it is to receive.” My favorite book to read around this time of year is called Auntie Claus . It is a story of a young, spoiled, girl who learns this important lesson. She puts others in front of herself. A pretty cool thing for a little kid to learn, right? Then there’s The Gift of Nothing (Special Edition) . This story is simple and sweet and teaches children that the gift of friendship is better than anything else in the world!

Here are a few stories I’ve heard recently that have made MY spirits bright. I love knowing there are good people out there in the world!

There’s the story of a man in Detroit who had just been released from jail. He has eight kids at home. While at a local gas station, he found a wallet full of credit cards and $1000 cash. He TURNED the wallet in! Someone mentioned it on facebook and there was a lot of talk going around about his honestly and kindness. A random stranger decided to then give this honest man $1000 cash just for doing the right thing! That story brought tears to my eyes (I couldn’t find the link for you to read the entire article).

This next story is about random strangers who walk into Kmart Layaway departments and pay off people’s holiday layaway balances. They are called The Christmas Angels. How cool is that???

Then there’s my two year old daughter…the other day she found some coins in her pocket and said “Mama, let’s give them to the man at the store with the bell for the people without money!” Most would be in awe that she said this but when we are out together, I make it a point to put change in for the Salvation Army and to say something to these volunteers. I explain to my daughter what I am doing. I’m so proud of her for choosing to give her money to someone else instead of putting it in her piggy bank!

Teach Your Children Well” and they will have “A Heart of Gold”

Thank you, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Neil Young