[DISCLAIMER: Wanting to increase the chance that my child has a particular trait does not mean that I would not love, respect, accept, and approve of a child without that trait, and if you think that is impossible I am somewhat worried about your mindset when you avoid teratogens. I have read Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids and think increasing children’s altruism is positive in expectation even given the book’s arguments.]
[COMMENTING NOTE: While opinions from non-effective-altruists are welcome, comments along the lines of “have you considered not being an effective altruist?” will be deleted.]
I’ve been reading about increasing the chance that your children are altruistic. It seems like two things that increase the chance are modeling altruism yourself and giving the child opportunities to engage in altruism in an age-appropriate way.
I would like to increase the chance that my son is an effective altruist, which means that modeling ineffective altruism is kind of pointless. The behavior I want to model and to offer opportunities for is thinking about how to do the most good and doing it, not doing something for signaling value and warm fuzzies. But the forms of altruistic behavior my husband and I engage in look like going to work (him) and typing on a computer keyboard (me), neither of which models altruistic behavior specifically. And children, particularly before adolescence, generally have a limited ability to earn to give or fill talent gaps in important organizations .
Things I have thought of so far include:
- Political involvement in effective causes (protests, phonebanking, canvassing, letter-writing).
- Discussing effective altruism in front of my child.
- Running an age-appropriate Giving Game once a year so he gets experience in charity selection.
- Offering opportunities for my child to write or speak about effective altruist ideas (maybe he can guest-post on my blog).
- Trick-or-treating for UNICEF (or AMF?).
- Eating a lacto vegetarian diet and explaining why (in an age-appropriate way, I don’t plan to show my toddler factory farming videos).
- Explicitly connecting things I and my husband do to effective altruism (I do research to help wild animals; Topher works as a programmer so he can donate to charity).
- Explicitly connecting things my child does to effective altruism (learning reading, writing, math, and natural and social science will help you improve the world in the future).
Does anyone else have suggestions?