Children's Book Teaches Lessons On Generosity
Children are generous by nature, but
during the holiday season they can be overwhelmed by greed. With so many advertisements focused on them, children can lose their natural balance. To counter the commercialism, the holiday season is an important time for parents to reawaken that natural spirit of giving in their children.
"Just as a well balanced diet in the early years helps children's bodies to develop healthfully, so too does encouraging a child's social/emotional relationship to giving and philanthropy in the early years impact their charitable impulses in later life," Marcia Stankard, author of The Spriitelees: A Christmas Tale About Kindness, said.
Stories of giving and sharing are one of the easiest and simplest ways for parents and teachers to use quality time in motivating ways. Not many people remember that the Pay It Forward movement started with the publication of a novel in 2000. The concept of giving without immediate personal reward tapped a vein of innate generosity in young people. Today's children can be overwhelmed by a variety of media influences, and today's parents can find it a full-time job to monitor the media exposure and online usage of even the smallest of children. For children who are just beginning to read, it's the wise parent who can find books and Web sites that are not only safe for their children, but counter the "gimme" mindset with inspiration for more generous impulses.
Stankard said, "We need to model constructive ways for our children to act with intentional kindheartedness, strengthening their instincts to help others. There's no time like childhood to celebrate the importance of a small, kind deed or gesture."
To tap into the essential sweet nature of children and to build their self-esteem, Stankard, a stayat
home mother of three, created the Spriitelees "to help inspire children not just to read a book and put it away, but to read a book and jump off the sofa, motivated to do kind things", Stankard said. She then wrote The Spriitelees: A Christmas Tale About Kindness by Marcia C. Stankard; hardcover: 32 pages; publisher: Spriitelee Enterprises; first edition Oct. 15, 2006; language: English; ISBN: 0977346005; available: www.Amazon.com and www.spriitelee.com Parents and teachers can encourage children to continue the Spriitelees' acts of kindness with a tear-out certificate at the end of the book designating
kind acts as an
spelled with two i's
"because the motto
of Spriitelees is, of
course, 'every i
makes a difference!'", Stankard
Children can "meet" the Spriitelees
at www.spriitelees. com. With both a holiday book and Web site geared to children between the ages of 3 and 7, Stankard provides ideas and incentives for children to perform acts of kindness. The Spriitelees are expected to become a series, and Stankard is donating a portion of the proceeds from each book to various causes benefiting children. "You can't expect children to act kindly without demonstrating your own commitment to this way of being," Stankard said. The first book, The Spriitelees: A Christmas Tale About Kindness, benefits research into children's brain tumors, a devastating diagnosis affecting 3,400 new children each year. The second
book, due out in spring 2007, will benefit children with autism.
"Every toddler I have ever met is sprightly (Spriitelee), and yet so few adults retain that magical quality. We need to celebrate, and more important, cultivate, that quality in our children," Stankard said. "If my children can start to recognize the gifts in their lives that are not gift-wrapped, and learn that they can multiply those gifts by being more kind and charitable, then I will have succeeded as a parent in one very important way."
The Spriitelees are passionate about helping children diagnosed with brain tumors. Kinder, gentler, more promising treatments can be found with more research. To that end, Spriitelee Enterprises will donate a portion of its proceeds on any Spriitelee purchase to fund children's brain tumor research. For every book purchased with an on-line form, a $5 contribution will be made.
Every year 3,400 new children are diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors. To learn more about this important cause, visit www.fightjpa.org or www.teamtj.org (the Spriitelees' very special four-year-old friend).
Marcia Stankard is a sales and marketing executive turned stay-at-home mom. Inspired by her own three children, Marcia wrote the Spriitelees to reinforce the importance of kindness during a holiday season when children are all too often focused on receiving. She lives in Boston with her husband, daughter and two sons.
For more information about the Spriitelees, visit www.spriitelees.com.