A Prayer for New Grandson Luke and His Birth Mates!
On Aug. 10, I became a grandfather for the fourth time. As we age, we take no grandchild for granted. I wanted to hold my grandson, Luke Alexander Haddad, all day. I said a prayer for him and talked to him about his future responsibilities. He looked at me with a look that said: I just need food, drink, sleep and a good system flush for now. The lectures and directives can come later, Grandpa! As I was holding him, I kept thinking about what life would be for him in the future.
I knew I would only be around in the early years of his life. If you know me, my thoughts drifted into questions. Would he be a kind-hearted person and help others? Would he have a philanthropic nature? Would he even consider a career in the nonprofit field? I did not have the answers to these questions for now, but I did come up with a checklist for him and his birth mates of that day to consider going forward.
General Checklist for Life:
- Be loving, caring and considerate of your parents, brothers and sisters.
- Volunteer to help around the house, and do things for others without being asked.
- Learn early it is better to give than receive.
- Get excited over seeing others receive gifts.
- Don’t be selfish, and be outgoing and caring.
- Learn to play with others, and lead play-activities.
- Seek the joy in life and love, not hate.
- Take a part-time job at an early age, and learn the value of money.
- In school, volunteer to be a leader.
- Seek to help those in need at an early age.
- Join the student council, and strive to obtain time, talent and treasure for classmates.
- Work to make good grades, but also have fun playing.
- Join a social club that has a focus on community project.
- Join the scouts if possible to understand nature.
- Care for your family, and seek to always love them.
- Learn about as many things as possible.
- As you grow place others before yourself.
- Be active in your school, church, home and external activities.
- Become an intern for government, business and nonprofit to see differences.
- Seek mentors, become a mentee and mentor, and learn from mistakes.
- Whether you work in a nonprofit or not, strive to have a nonprofit heart.
- Seek to pay it forward, and find the good in others.
- Don’t compare yourself with others—set your own bar for life.
- Be kind to others.
- Whatever you do—have empathy for others!
I have many weaknesses, but what has served me well in my long nonprofit career is the ability to have a great sense of empathy for others.
I truly believe my trajectory of caring for others and hence, a possible interest in a nonprofit career, started when I was young. The Roots Action blog notes that we increase the happiness and well-being of every child by teaching children to care about others every day throughout the year. Learning to be givers shapes children’s values and provides opportunities to develop kindness, a virtue that improves lives.
Empathy is our ability to recognize and respond to the needs and suffering of others. In “Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation,“ young people describe the transformative power of empathy and how it motivated them to make a difference for others. Studies show we feel better about ourselves when we practice kindness—toward our children, students, families, friends and communities.
Children are born to be givers, but by fourth grade, research shows they are socialized to think more about themselves than others. By having children perform repeated acts of kindness toward others, their happiness quotient increased, nurtured their well-being and increased their positive connections with peers.
Seek to utilize the following four steps to help enable children to be givers of kindness:
- Understand the importance of kindness for children and adults.
- Create a kindness project where your family or classroom records one act of kindness per day.
- Take time to share as a family or classroom.
- Practice, practice, practice—that forms a positive habit of service toward others.
If you practice kindness and provide services toward others as a child there is a great likelihood that practice will continue as an adult because it feels good! My prayer for Luke and his new birth mates is simple. May all these new visitors to this strange world grow up with kindness in their hearts, a love for family and others, plus a desire to make a difference for others in this world. If we can teach kindness and caring for others at an early age, we may indirectly establish new recruits for nonprofit leadership positions in the future, plus enjoy a better world along the way.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.