Some people say they have a difficult time giving money to the homeless because they assume they'll use it for alcohol or drugs. Regardless of what the money is spent on, Rabbi Shmuley says there is an even more important consideration we must take into account: human dignity. "To bestow dignity is to make someone feel he matters, to make him feel important," he says. "When someone speaks to you and you ignore him, you make him feel nonexistent. And when you walk right by people and pretend they are not there, you make them feel their lives are inconsequential," Rabbi Shmuley says. Giving a dollar may not make a huge difference in that person's life, but it will make a difference in terms of that person's dignity.
Not only should parents teach their children to give, but children should also try to give a percentage of their money to charity, Rabbi Shmuley says. "It teaches them that their personal money can have a positive effect on the welfare of others," he says.
"A kind heart is the defining characteristic of a good person. It is not enough to tell our kids to be charitable and hospitable. We must offer them a program of action so that practicing kindness becomes ingrained into their character."