Nick Cannon: I Want My Kids to Grow Up Helping Others

09/22/2012 at 12:00 PM ET
David Livingston/Getty

Nick Cannon knows that his kids with Mariah Carey have a good life — and he want to make sure they appreciate it.

“I want my kids to understand that every child isn’t as fortunate as they are,” the America’s Got Talent host tells PEOPLE of 17-month-old twins Monroe and Moroccan.

“I want [them] to grow up helping others. I was raised by my grandmother. We were low-income, but she was always taking in foster kids. She would help anyone, and it was a good lesson for me growing up.”

Cannon, 31, was in Orlando on Friday to host the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals‘ Awards Dinner. At the event, he mingled with children ages 3 to 17 who are fighting diseases or recovering from traumatic injuries.

“I really believe in this charity, in this event,” he says. “It’s our duty to help kids who need it.” Cannon was also on-hand to announce a collaboration between Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and, a 3D Virtual World for kids.

Sitting in his hotel room with PEOPLE before the event, Cannon points to a laptop with a missing key.

“My son was playing with it and he broke it,” he says with a laugh. “My kids are already attracted to technology. They want to touch it; they’re always reaching for it. They love my iPad. That’s their generation; they love computers. So it’ll be important as they grow older to know what they’re doing online, to keep them safe.”

It has been a rough year for Cannon. After suffering from kidney failure and blood clots in his lungs last winter, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called lupus nephritis. Through medication and diet, things are now under control — except for one thing.

“I just had four root canals within the last 24 hours; other than that, I’m doing really well,” he says. “In fact, I couldn’t have dental work while I was having my health problems because of blood issues. So it’s great that I could finally get the work done. Once my teeth heal up, I’ll be in great shape!”

— Steve Helling

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Showing 35 comments

sheila on

Life is short enjoy ever moment.

cortnee lee on

What a great way 2 show ur children that money doesn’t grow on trees I admire that very much good job Nick u seem like a hell of a father

Liz on

He seems like a wonderful person. God bless their family.

dee on

While its great that you are very active in charities, where is your wife? I heard that these things you do for other people is beneath her and I lost all respect for her, you and her are never together and I think that is alittle odd….just saying

Pam on

Dee, Where do you think she is genious? At home with dem babies, duh. I love Mariah.

cathy on

his twins are the cutest babies on this planet.

sat on

I hope Mariah takes good care of her man, she got a good one!

Marisa on

Nick is such as tug. He has no class, but I guess that is what America likes.

Pam on

Marisa, How do you figure he has no class after reading this article? A$$!

George William Gockel on

Life is short enjoy every moment.

gagirl on

Dee, wtf are you talking about?!?!? How is charity beneath Mariah when she has her own camp? And they ARE always together. You’re obviously an idiot who doesn’t have a clue.

Oh and Marisa, what is a tug exactly?????? And how do you conclude that he has no class?!?!? I’d love to know where some of you get this crap……

librababe on

Lol, exactly gagirl. I can’t stand when people speculate about others’ relationships, it’s just rude and that’s how untrue rumors start. Also, I’m not sure what a “tug” is either.

I hope Nick continues to get well, and I appreciate that they’re instilling charity work in their children.

Pam on

gagirl, Yeah, they are morons! She has twins at home, she obviously can’t be at a charity event at the same time as Nick because she’s at home with dem babies and the other ones probably racist.

arnaux on

How nice Nick. Since they don’t ever have to worry about money you can play the rich guy being magnanimous and giving.

Give all your money away now and let them work like the rest of us. Or even better help me and mine by sending me $100.000 dollars. I am tired of these trite remarks from trite people who think their poop doesn’t stink.

Pam on

arnaux, Eww you’re so disgusting! Bitter much about your life? Why should he give you his $? He’s worked hard for that and so has Mariah. Maybe if you actually had some talent you could make some too. And they are giving and he’s constantly at charity events, so you obviously know nothing about the people they are all you see is their $ and your greed. Shame on you! Grow up!

Pam on

arnaux, Why should his kids have to struggle? They’ve both worked hard to make sure their kids would’nt have to struggle in life. I’m doing the same for my future kids and I think most people try to do that too, so shut up!

Pam on

arnaux, Oh and if you’re tired of hearing about celebrities/rich people and their families and lives then maybe you should stop reading stories on People! Genious! Lmao!

Kristen on

Best of luck teaching your children to care about others when Mariah Carey is the most self-serving, narcissistic person in currently walking the earth.

Pam on

Kristen, Oh shut up! You know nothing about her obviously. She donates to charities and even has her own camp so whatever you’re ignorant. She’s a celebrity, they all love themselves.

audra on

Nick Cannon is a class act. He is raising those kids right, to know they are priviledged, and yet give back to those less fortunate. He seems so incredibly down to earth, what a genuinely nice guy!

Just My Opinion on

Some of your comments would make some think you know Nick & Mariah personally. It’s easy to hide behind a computer and pass judgement, what faults do you have? Why do some think that stars lives should be an open book, right along with their check books?

Ramonan on

He needs to get his princess of a wife on board.

Me Me on

I knew I liked this guy. Good for you Nick, keep up the good work. You seem like a very nice, good person. Mariah is very lucky to have you. Your children are lucky too !

Julie on

He is a kind and responsible human being. I wish everyone knew it was their responsibility to raise their kids this way. If your not helping others, you dont have the right to call yourself a citizen. You dont need a lot of money to help others, so forget that arguement.

Anneke Sheppard on

I can’t believe you people talking bad about Mariah like that. She is a very caring person, and u think that what Nick is teaching their children is a good thing, cause these kids who have famous patents should know that life for everybody isn’t that easy. People have to work in order to have a place to live and food to eat. Keep up the good work Nick and Mariah.

Snofe on

Am so glad for him and his wife, may God grant him good health n also protect his children

tigerlily on

@ Arnaux — how are you possibly getting a negative impression out of the positive message he is trying to send? He’s saying he grew up less fortunate and that it takes hard work to get where he is today. He understands that his children are going to have a good life and be well provided for given who their parents are, but that doesn’t mean that he wants them to mistake or be ignorant to how other people have to struggle. He is going to try and teach them to put some of their good fortunes in life toward helping someone less fortunate. Why would you down someone for giving money away to help children? You sound like a seriously miserable person!!

Connie on

If you want well rounded children, when they are surrounded by wealth and priveldge then you need to make sure they are around those less fortunate often and that their every whim is not given to them all the time. This is true with most kids regardless of how much you have, but you really need to say no to many of their requests as they get older because they will be so easy to spoil! And we’ve all seen spoiled rich celebrity kids.

crystal on

Say what that’s good that’s great for uto say Nick take care of you’re children cause nobody else will Nick u no that so keep up with you’re wife’s duty and you’re children duty and you’re u so that’s find that u have great time to share How u feel about that great. Great time than the u no

banjogirl on

but he lives such an opulent life, and they see that he spends money on frivolous things such as giant necklaces and rings and clothing and….private jets. Boob implants, hair dye, white pianos that no one plays. go build houses with Habitat for Humanity, go plant trees for Wangari.

greenlee on

Yep, of course there are bad comments directed at Mariah. I guess some people have never heard of Camp Mariah or all of her charity work. She is a very giving person and she is always doing things to show appreciation to her fans.

JessicaB on

i like this couple. and their babies are BEAUTIFUL!

crystal on

Say what good night oh by another one that u keep it away from you’re son that’s what happens when u let you’re son go for it that’s nothing no. All kids does that to there’s dad to nothing new so u have to agree with him all the time. If have plans take you’re out sometimes that way people won’t thank something of u okay do the right thing.

crystal on

I guess u have more plan to take you’re children out sometimes Nick go it u no How to I take minda out to if have to so u do the same to okay until u have more fun with them he telling u something like let’s go out or some where so be a father to you’re children they love u to do something with you’re so people won’t talk about bad things okey Nick do whatever father’s do get well.

crystal on

Good helping others that’s good God blessing u for that