May 3, 2010; Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Want your children to grow up to become charitable? Then set examples for them to follow and encourage them to start doing things like volunteering and making donations to charitable causes in their teens.

While seemingly simple advice, the numbers of parents who say they want their children to grow up to be charitable greatly outstrips those who actually help prepare for that role. That was one of the findings of a national survey conducted last month by Harris Interactive Service Bureau for the Pearson Foundation. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the survey of 500 parents and 500 teens found that more than 50 percent of the “most philanthropic teens” said their parents were the single most important influence in teaching them about giving.

And while almost 90 percent of all parents said they wanted their children to be charitable during adulthood “there is a large gap between what parents say they want to do and what they may know to do.” For instance, the report found that only about one out of three parents (29 percent) “frequently explained to their children the importance of giving.” Also helpful is when parents set goals for their children, when they talk about their own volunteer work, and encourage them to discuss the importance of giving back during family discussions. In other words to get their children to give someday, parents have to give good advice and direction.—Bruce Trachtenberg