My six-year-old son, Cash is an only child. But, not only is he an only child, he’s the sole grandchild within a 700 kilometer radius between both sets of his grandparents. Suffice it to say, his usual exclusive position affords him an overwhelming amount of his family’s attention.
And he’s not complaining.
One of the benefits of having a small family is that there are less competing demands on the amount time devoted to one another. My wife and I are content with funneling our love and life lessons to our single child. Albeit, thoughts of the stereotypical spoiled only child often whirr around the back of my mind in an attempt to consider the impacts of my parenting decisions on Cash.
In my family, the focus is on Cash 90% of the time and I feel that this has inadvertently created a lingering expectation within him to be the sole recipient of attention and material things. Now, this could all be in my head – an insecurity brought on by the often-judgmental world of parenting. But I like to think that my desire to raise a good human is the major driving force behind my approach as a dad.
So, how would I teach my son about selflessness when so much of his world is about him?
The first thought that came to mind was to teach Cash about giving through example. The issue was I couldn’t provide this example effectively on my own (I’m an adult, thus I am a different species in my son’s eyes). I wanted to give him an example that he could relate to: One of a young Canadian making a difference in his community.
I turned to an initiative I had been reading about on social media, RBC’s #Make150Count. Royal Bank of Canada is celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary and inspiring young Canadians to make a difference in their communities by challenging them to do something great with $150.
I recalled viewing a video of a young boy using his $150 to host a Team Canada, World Junior hockey party at a local children’s hospital for those who weren’t able to be at home over the holidays. It was inspiring.
I sat down with Cash and together we watched it.
Cash wanted to know more and if he could host his own hockey party. I explained to him that #Make150Count wasn’t just about giving back through hockey but it shines a light on the different ways Canada’s youth can simply take an idea and a small sum of money to make a big impact – whether its feeding the homeless, giving kids the opportunity to play sports or buying essentials for those in need.
By discussing #Make150Count with Cash and learning how the program is igniting a national movement of young Canadians doing acts that inspire others I was able to initiate a conversation to create a teachable moment.
#Make150Count created a dialogue between my son and I about selflessness and the many ways he can be charitable and creatively give back. Cash understands that he can make a difference. And I was reminded that when we invest in youth, great things happen.
By supporting youth to help realize their potential and make an impact on their communities, we can shape our children and our country’s future.
The future looks bright, Canada.
I’m proud that Royal Bank of Canada has a long legacy of supporting initiatives to help youth realize their potential. RBC helps communities prosper by supporting a broad range of programs through donations, community investments, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities.
You can get involved too.
If you want to be involved in RBC’s national movement, tell them how you will Make 150 Count through Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #Make150Count or submit your application at rbc.com/make150count
This post is sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, however the views and opinions expressed are my own.