Generosity is an immeasurable value you can teach and uphold in your family. Generosity is more multifaceted than you may have been taught. Giving to the collection plate and making charitable contributions on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis is a great start. But generosity spans far beyond the typical monetary contribution to good causes. In fact, you don't just have to give to established causes. You can start your own cause, within your own families.

Being more generous is easy. Consider these simple ways to give back:

1. Offer to start a car pool

Whether it's for work, school, or common interests, get a collective group of people together to save gas and money by riding together. The driving responsibility can stay static or rotate regularly to each member of the carpool. The extra time spent together will help you learn even more about each other.

2. Offer assistance

Help elderly or disabled neighbors with things like groceries, cleaning, pet care, cooking, and short travel.

3. Start a family change jar

Each day, have every family member empty loose change into a family change jar. At the end of the week, or the month, donate the collections to a cause of your choice.

4.

Volunteer

At school, your place of worship, or at a local business. Animal shelters are always looking for help. Serve food and clean at homeless shelters. Retirement homes and assisted-living facilities welcome people who can keep the residents entertained and comfortable. Charity fundraisers are a great traditional pick.

5. Donate

Food, toys, household items, clothes and of course money is greatly appreciated for public and privately-funded causes. If you are eligible, please look into donating blood and plasma. Make sure the Organ Donor information on the back of your driver's license is checked off if your religion permits.

6. Become a Big

Join the Big Brother/Big Sister program in your area and contribute your time, attention and values to someone who needs it, and will appreciate it.

7. Start a family cause

Volunteer in your own home. Offer to help with homework, household chores, and childcare. Let the kids cook dinner, with supervision. Offer to set the dinner table or wash dishes. Babysit the little ones so mom and dad can have a night out. Offer to drive your teens and their friends to a movie.

I ran a bi-weekly community group teaching spiritual concepts and values for two years before handing over the reins to a couple who have expanded and advanced it beyond anything I could have dreamed. I look after my friend's pets when they are on vacation, loving and caring for them like my own. On several occasions, I have picked up stray animals. I either kept and cared for them, adopted them out myself, or brought them to shelters to be cared for and adopted out professionally. I support local musicians by buying full price CDs and tickets to their shows whenever I can. I donate clothing and accessories. I regularly donate blood.

Generosity starts at home. Teach your family and children to be generous in the home, not just outside of it. You can always expand your reach of generosity to outside causes. Or, bring those outside causes in by hosting events and starting community programs yourself. There are thousands of ways to be generous. Find the system that works for you and help bring your family and community together.

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