As a child, I loved spending time with my Grandfather. He would have the best stories to tell. Every time I would go to his house, he would speak of a time “long, long ago when gas was only 25 cents a gallon and when ice cream was just a nickel.” As I look back to those conversations, some of the things that come to my mind are that my Grandfather loved spending time with me and he loved thinking about his better days. For him, he thought it good to tell me about times past with an almost warning that those days are over and will likely not return. Now, as a parent of four children, I find myself battling not to tell them about “the good ole’ days” when life presents me with something different than what I’m used to or situations I don’t want to happen. Instead, my desire is to help them look at the world around them through the lens of the Bible to see that God is giving them an opportunity to live generously! Here are three practices to help kids focus their thoughts on a generous God and how he works through the lives of His generous people.
1. Take advantage of everyday moments to teach your children.
We had just returned home from a trip where poverty was everywhere. There was only one store to buy food and it certainly was not filled with thousands of products like our local Walmart. As my kids began trying to sneak their favorite foods into the cart, I quickly saw an opportunity to shift gears and talk about how our world was not the world. I asked them questions about how the food got into the store and if they thought every country had the number of selections we had. We talked about the blessings of God and His provision and prayed for those that we knew were in need…right there in aisle 8.
2. Create moments where your kids can be generous.
Sometimes we over think how easy it is to have an impact on the lives of people around us. Our family received a letter in the mail from one of our friends asking to support them to serve the needy overseas. Instead of my wife and I just stroking a check, we asked our kids how we as a family could help our friend. My six year old decided it was good to bake cookies and make lemonade to sell on our neighborhood street corner. She colored a sign to display her cause and stood on that corner all day selling the products she had made. In all, we raised close to $50 to give in support of our friend. She was so proud and became invested in our friend’s trip.
3. Don’t just talk about what to do, be the example!
If you have ever heard that kids are listening to your every word and watching your every move, it is a resounding true statement. They see how you spend your money and what you do with your time. Don’t let it make you nervous, but use it as an opportunity for them to see you be generous with those resources. One of the easiest ways to do that is by sponsoring a child. My grandfather was wrong when he said a dollar couldn’t buy anything anymore. At NHC, $1 Feeds 1 Child For 1 Week in our feeding program. So little does go so very far and it is an easy opportunity to introduce generous giving to your children.