It’s important to raise a self-reliant daughter with a definite sense of who she is and could be. However, let’s not assume that a child who feels good will automatically do good. According to the Search Institute, when parents help their children to be involved in community life and teach them how to serve in it, their children are more likely to grow up into caring, responsible adults. There are many benefits of volunteering. Whether it’s spending time at the local food bank or neighbourhood cleanup project you may not realize what your daughter is getting from this experience.
- Volunteering leads to altruism which leads to gratitude. When a girl gives of her time through works of charity she develops her altruistic side. She learns to have unselfish concern for others which helps her appreciate her blessings.
- Giving back helps to ease stress. Dr. Kirsti A. Dwyer, a physician and expert in life challenges, says that the body releases natural pain killers (endorphins) that are part of what’s known as ‘helper’s high’. These are followed by longer-lasting periods of improved emotional well-being. It really does feel good to do good.
- Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends. This is especially true if a girl is shy or new to an area.
- Doing charitable works helps to develop social skills. When a girl is meeting new people with common interests it’s easier for her to feel more confident. Once momentum grows, a natural level of life satisfaction grows too and boosts her self-esteem.
- Volunteering brings fun and satisfaction to life. When one can choose activities that are of interest, tasks can be energizing and at the same time feel easy to accomplish. Contributing to society helps her to feel pride in herself. It also helps her escape the day to day grind of school, chores and family responsibilities.
- Giving back is empowering. When your daughter notices suffering and loss, she feels better that she has in some way helped to make things better, and see how even one person can make a difference. According to Dr. Sears, the renowned pediatrician, “psychologists have identified that control over one’s environment (is) a key factor in happiness; a child who learns (she) can change the things (she) sees as wrong gains the keys to lifelong satisfaction.”
- Volunteering can help shape a career. By offering one’s time to a community, a girl’s world can be opened up to new and interesting fields that could lead to a personal career choice. By volunteering in a hospital, she may choose a career, like Barbie, in medicine as a doctor, nurse, or dentist. Or, volunteering at her local science centre could lead to a career in paleontology, astronomy or engineering.
Whether your daughter helps out in a community garden, volunteers in a library, or sits with a younger child wanting to improve his reading, she will find many surprising benefits. When she gives back to the world it becomes a better place.