Generosity. What does it mean to you? Defined as “the habit of giving without expecting anything in return”, it can involve offering time, assets or talents to help someone in need. However, through the years, the word “generosity” has often been equated with charity as a virtue; that is, a generous person is someone who donates monetary aid. When one states, “He’s so generous!” it’s quite natural to immediately assume the tone of the statement somehow involves a generous donation, offering or financial contribution.
Yet generosity encompasses so, so much more, and Canadian parents are in overwhelming agreement that raising caring and generous children is one of their top priorities. Of course, one of the easiest ways to instill a behaviour in our children is simply to model it ourselves. A Minute Maid Moments poll conducted earlier this year showed that more than half of parents demonstrate generosity through spontaneous good deeds such as shoveling a neighbours’ driveway, holding the door for a stranger, or giving gifts to friends and family including homemade art and baked goods.
This is the true definition of generosity; giving a piece of your time and talents to make a difference.
The poll also shows that an overwhelmingly high number (83 per cent) of parents want their children to show generosity, including:
• Random acts of kindness, like writing friendly surprise notes for friends and family (77 per cent)
• Offering to help neighbours in simple ways, such as carrying groceries (67 per cent)
• Acknowledging their friends /family birthdays with gestures like a phone call or handwritten card (53 per cent)
• Making gifts for others, including baked treats and homemade crafts (43 per cent)
I want my boys to be generous. I want them to be in the habit of giving without expectations and living without regrets. I want them to be thankful for their talents and mindful of their shortcomings. But most of all –
I want my children to be generous with their time. I want them to realize that life is nothing without meaningful connections, and those connections can only be made when they give their time, and themselves, freely to others.
I want my children to be generous with their thoughts. Jealousy, contempt and other negative thoughts are detrimental to their well being and the well being of others. Being thoughtful and acknowledging that there is good and beauty in everyone is one of the easiest ways to build positive relationships.
I want my children to be generous with their words. Often, a simple compliment or word of encouragement can turn around someone’s day – or perspective. Telling someone you appreciate them is one of the easiest – and most effective – random acts of kindness.
I want my children to be generous with their hearts. Empathy, love, forgiveness and compassion all come from within. I want my boys to wear their hearts on their sleeves; to be open and proud of their love for people, places and things. And when they fall in love, I want them to be generous and kind with the heart that is given to them.
Today, I’m proud to partner with Minute Maid, who wants to help Canadian parents with fun, new ways to teach generosity. Minute Maid has developed recipes that are perfect for gifting; from tropical share squares to carrot cake bars, these recipes are sure to bring a smile to neighbours’, friends and family members’ faces, while also giving parents one more tool they can use to instill goodness – one moment at a time.
Tropical Share Squares
2-1/2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cold butter, cubed
3 cups frozen mixed tropical/summer fruit (such as mango, peach and strawberry)
1/2 cup chilled Minute Maid Mango
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
Filling: In saucepan, bring fruit, chilled Minute Maid Mango and sugar to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher or fork until just a few small chunks remain. Return to high heat and bring to boil.
In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 tbsp water until smooth; stir into fruit mixture. Boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Firmly press half of the oat mixture into bottom of parchment paper–lined 8-inch square pan. Top with fruit filling, spreading to coat. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture, pressing lightly.
Bake in 350°F oven until light golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into squares.
The boys have decided to share their Tropical Share Squares with grandma, because in Ryder’s words – “She’s a sweet friend and I love her.” How do you encourage your children to be generous?
For more delicious recipes that are perfect for gift-giving or sharing, visit Minute Maid.