For Father’s Day, teach your kids to give back

My father taking my son on his first canoe trip. One of my all time favorite photos of him passing on knowledge that he once passed on to me.

My father taking my son on his first canoe trip. One of my all time favorite photos of him passing on knowledge that he once passed on to me.

The role a father plays in their child’s life is a crucial one.

I’ve always believed this and now that I’m a dad myself it confirms all those thoughts I’ve grown up with.

One of the most important things I believe it is my duty to do is to pass on my philosophy of leaving the world better than I found it to my kids.

Growing up, we did a lot of outdoor activities. At the time I complained about going for another hike in the woods or camping out. But, as I grew older I learned to love it. I longed to put on my backpack, hit the trail and find a spot to set up our tent for the night.

My grandfather and my father both loved the outdoors. I lost my grandfather far too early in my life, but my dad and I have always had a close bond. We still try to get outside together as often as possible. He is a forester by trade and every time we camped he made sure to tell us to leave the site better than we found it so that no one would know we were there.

Today, my family’s schedule prevents us from getting outside as much as I’d like, but I still hope I’m putting these values into my kid’s DNA.

They see the work I do for organizations like ONE and Wediko, which I just became president of the board for. They’ve heard me tell the stories of countless people and organizations working hard to improve every corner of the globe. They know how much making sure that children everywhere learn to create and imagine is important to me.

As a parent, it is important that we make sure our kids understand that the world is bigger than just the neighborhood they grow up in and the school they attend.

It is also our job to make sure that they realize the rewards of volunteering and finding organizations that align with their passions to give back through.

We have a group of friends that get together every Christmas to celebrate and for years the adults have made donations instead of giving gifts. Besides being a great thing to do, it has also always been the perfect opportunity to tell our kids about the different charities we pick each year and why we chose them.

I’m very fortunate that my father is still around. I love watching as he passes his knowledge and lessons on to my children. He did a solid job of raising me and the evolution from father to grandfather seems to be a perfect one for him.

So, I hope that every dad out there who reads this will take a moment and think about how they are making sure that their kids understand the importance of giving back and helping the world around them. Make sure that you lead by example and when they pose an interest in something that you feed it with everything you have.

You never know where it might take them!

Your Turn: How did your father teach you to give back? Let us know.