Charity and the Chump – Life Lessons for Teens

Life Lessons for TeensIn an attempt to teach my fourteen-year-old son life lessons, in particular charity, I used every opportunity as a learning moment. He served meals at a food pantry in San Francisco, volunteered at Open Heart Kitchen and collected canned food for the needy. If there was a chance to help, he raised his hand.

Life Lessons for Teens-Church

Church needed volunteers at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, a community outreach program for those suffering from homelessness, hopelessness, poverty, and drug use.

He worked side by side with other volunteers serving meals and packaging box lunches.  When he returned home, he relived his day with me and said, “We even ate lunch there. The food was a little better than yours.” 

Um, thanks?

Back in town, he continued small acts of kindness. He opened doors for the elderly and helped seniors carry their grocery bags to their car. Then, later that evening we stopped by Taco Bell for my growing son’s 5th meal. 

Life Lessons at Taco Bell

Outside the fast-food joint, we spotted a perfect opportunity to put charity into motion. A Life Lessons for Teenstwenty-something homeless-looking  man was sitting outside the front door with a sign. I explained to my son, “Here’s what you should do,” and handed him some money.

He approached the man first and said, “Sir, would you like me to buy you something to eat?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Um, okay. Here, you can have this,” he said and dropped five dollars into the homeless guy’s jar.

Life Lessons for TeensAt that moment, I reached the front door and squinted at his sign. Wait a minute!

“Can I take a closer look at your sign?” I asked. He held it in my direction.

“Are you kidding me?” I blurted out. “NEED MONEY FOR SCOTTISH FESTIVAL!”

“Just trying to keep it real lady.”

Once inside, I discussed with my son the virtues of being honest. And the importance of reading carefully! 

Do you have any funny stories to share about teaching your kid life lessons?  

148th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games

Date: 08/31/2013 – 09/01/2013
Time: Sat, 8:30am – 6:00pm; Sun, 8:30am – 6:00pm
Presented By: Caledonian Club of San Francisco
For More Information (Details On/Off)

Cost: Adults 1 day $20, 2 day $27; Child (12 – 17) $12; Seniors (65+) $12; 11 & under FREE
Parking: $8
Discount: $5 Adults/$2 Seniors until August 15 Military (with active duty ID) FREE, 11 & under FREE
Contact email:
Contact phone: 888-769-2345One of the world’s largest Celtic Festivals. 30 pipe bands. World Championship Heavy Events + Amateur, Woman’s & Maters Invitational. Western Highland Dancing Championships.
Living History – MaryQueen of Scots, Highland Warriors, Roman Legion & Invading Vikings. Gathering of Clans. Celtec Heritage – Fiddling, Harping & Singing. 6 stages continuous entertainment – traditional to Celtic Rock. Childrens Glen, Scottish Country Dancing. Irish Step dancing. Birds of Prey. Sheep Dog Trials. Clydesdale Horse Team. Five-A-Side Soccer, Rugby & Shinty Tournament. Whisky Tasting. British food & drink. 5 buildings with 100 + Vendors.

Click on the link for more information on the Scottish Games in Pleasanton, CA at the Alameda County Fairgrounds

About staceygustafson


  1. Camille Thompson says

    Hey! From what I understand those games are not to be missed! Great lesson there, Stacey!

  2. Neva Hodges says

    What a great son, first of all. Second, you stated the lesson well. Good job, Stacey.

  3. Your son sounds like an amazing young man. Better to give, even to questionable causes, than not to give at all.

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