Fostering philanthropic values
Educators Guild Newsletter
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
Issue 5
Fall 2005

This article discusses how gifted children's sensitivity to events happening in their society and surrounding can often be isolating and frightening. This article outlines steps such as talking with your children and encouraging philanthropic values in order to help normalizes these feelings.

Fostering Philanthropic Values

Whether it is terrorism, war, natural disasters, or simply everyday life, we live in stressful times. It may be difficult for some children to find meaning and purpose in a world filled with unease and upheaval. Gifted children are especially sensitive to issues that affect society. They often become concerned with fairness, meaning, and the “whys” of what transpires in the world. Bright children are empathic and can often put themselves in other people’s shoes. This can be a very good quality, but at the same time quite frightening. These exceptional children may draw inward in order to cope with stressful realities; therefore causing them to become isolated. Isolation, in turn, may lead to depression.

There are ways to help gifted children cope with these emotions. Talking with them and normalizing their feelings are helpful strategies. But what can we do about helping them deal with their feelings about unfairness and meaningfulness in the larger picture? How can we help foster self-confidence and self-actualization? As gifted educators, you can give these children the direction they need to move forward in helping others. Gifted teens especially, often want to do things to help their communities, but they are not always sure how to go about it. They are very capable of giving back to society, but they may need the direction to do so (Schultz, 2005). There are many activities you can do in or out of the classroom to encourage children to think big and give back. Sometimes it can be as simple as just supporting them in their endeavors. However, you can also provide them with opportunities, such as organizing a charity event or taking a field trip to a shelter for women and children.

To help develop service oriented curriculum and foster philanthropic values, here are some websites and organizations offering resources and ideas for the classroom:

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