Philosophers, politicians, religious leaders, social activists, and parents all have shared a similar belief and aspiration in that children are the hope of the future. Children, by literally being the future, are the epitome of the changes wished to be seen in the world. Teaching, or rather spurring children on, to be that change, however, can be a difficult task for parents.

Aristotle said that the good habits formed in youth is what makes all the difference.

Socrates cautioned, “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said not to drum up wood collectors and assign tasks and work if you need a ship built, but to instead “teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

All three are powerful words of wisdom for parents seeking to find meaningful ways for their children to contribute to society. Service projects and community initiatives, such as food drives and donation events, set an example of service, giving, charity, and empowerment for children witnessing parental commitment. However, merely witnessing a parent buy and drop off donations isn’t where habits are built and thinking about the meaning behind the action is most encouraged whereas a child’s very tactile mind is concerned.

Instead, such contributions begin at home by encouraging children to actively think about and build habits out of small acts of kindness. This may be anything from caregiving assistance for family members or pet responsibilities to unrewarding chores. These types of tactile home-based acts of caring begin to instill the habit of making the world around the child a better place simply and only for that reward alone, which will be a stepping stone to developing deeper thinking patterns of empathy and broader service efforts.

It’s important to teach your children that acts of philanthropy is not just for the wealthy. Even with small resources, you still have the ability to be charitable. In fact, those who have less tend to be the most charitable in the most strategic of ways. Teaching philanthropic skills to your children is something that can be passed down from generation to generation.