I will forever remember that call I received from my son’s Sunday School teacher….”Mrs. Davis, I am not sure if you are aware of the fact that your son put a large sum of money in the offering toward the building fund. I just wanted to check and make sure it was really ok for him to give it.”
At the time Colby had been saving for a boat. A lofty goal for a 6-year old but when he had asked his dad for a boat, his dad replied, “Son, if you really want one you should start saving.” More than $100 had slowly accumulated in his jar. Pictures had been cut out and adhered to the fridge just below the secured location of the “the fund.” But when compelled by the need for an expanded sanctuary that boy gave it all.
Despite the title above I am not really sure how to groom the heart of a giver. I honestly don’t remember making much effort to groom his heart that direction at all. I am not sure in this case that it is a matter of grooming but maybe a matter of letting the seedling grow under the opposite circumstances…..without cutting it back.
I remember when friends would come over to play and their child would leave with their shirt folded up in scoop like fashion to carry away some of the toys previously in my child’s inventory. Of course the other mom would say somewhat embarrassed “no, let’s leave those here they don’t belong to you,” and my kids would pipe up and say “but I gave it to them.” At times with a bit of grimace thinking of how much I had spent I would agree that – yes the toys were theirs and they could choose to give them away if that is what they had chosen to do.
I know you probably have similar stories. In fact right now you probably have a doozy of a tale you could tell about something your child wanted to give away. So I tend to wonder if their heart to give is something we should admire. Something we should take note of, think about and consider. Maybe their heart to give is one that reflects a heart without fear? A heart that is sensitive to meet a need for others. A heart that, like God’s, is responsive and generous.
Trust me, my kids are not different. That first story is one I remember and hold on to amidst the atmosphere of “mines” and crazy Christmas lists. But it brings me to share some creative ways you can encourage your kids to be givers.
In our house we have a pink piggy that collects change all year. All members of the household “feed the hungry piggy” from January through November. The end of November the booty is counted and we use those funds to purchase Christmas gifts for needy families.
Another idea is to add a “give” jar to the “tithe” “save” system you have for teaching them biblical economics.
I have a friend who collects each and every Happy Meal toy to give. Her little people take joy in turning over their little treasures to mom so that another child can be blessed.
Another idea is to let them have a “give” allowance and choose a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse or Gospel for Asia catalog. (That is fun! They can buy a goat or other items to help families around the world.)
Sign up to sponsor a child in Haiti, or through a missionary organization like Compassion. Let them take part in correspondence and sharing the joy of providing for another child their age. (Our little guy has been begging for a sister. I chose a girl a couple of years younger than him from India and said this is our new little sister in Christ.)
Volunteer to deliver thanksgiving baskets or Christmas gifts to families you may know or in support of organizations doing this kind of outreach….Project Angel Tree & Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s purse are a few of our favorites.
Suggest that they carry a $5 in their backpack as an emergency gift for a friend who may run out of lunch money. Or for your teen driver $20 in their glove box for someone they may encounter at a gas station that looks to need a blessing.
Remind them that God loved the world so much that He gave…….His one and only son. His most precious possession.
Be careful not to inadvertently teach your kids to give the stuff they don’t like, the stuff that is broken, dirty, or discarded. Encourage them to give with a cheerful heart and remember that your example will go the distance far greater than your words.
You are ON!
Yes there is a comment box on this blog……so Plleeeeaassseee…
Please share…..how have you encouraged your kids to be givers?
What fun things are you doing as a family to Give or serve?
Going through closets and drawers to find clothing out of the “abundance” to share with others was one of the most memorable occasions I experienced with my 13 year old daughter years ago. Filling up 3 bags of clothes and then inviting a needy family over to our home to try on and walk away with items that fit their daughter, left a mark on all of our hearts. You see, our daughter had thought she “had nothing to wear” until she discovered she had too much to wear (in comparison to a school mate’s wardrobe of one pair jeans, two shirts and a pair of shoes.) That year we also invited a whole underprividedged family to have Thanksgiving dinner with us and receive early Christmas presensts from our church.