Parenting is an awesome but difficult responsibility.
As parents, we are aware that everything we do and say can have an impact on our children’s lives. And so we want to leverage that influence in way that points our children to God and His plan for their lives.
Generosity is a part of that plan. So how do we help our kids move away from selfishness and toward selflessness? How do we help our kids be generous?
For those parents asking these types of questions, here are a few suggestions:
Model gratefulness. Expressing thankfulness for the resources God has given you can teach your children (1.) God is the owner and giver of all things, and (2.) the impact generosity has on your own family.
Talk about generosity. Tell them why you think living with open hands is important. Connect your heart for generosity to God’s generosity.
Model generosity. Kids are amazing at detecting hypocrisy. So it’s not enough just to tell them about generosity, we must actually be generous. Show them how you are giving. You are not bragging when you do this, you are teaching.
Help them see and understand the needs of others. Talk about those who have needs that you may be able meet. Help them empathize with those in need by asking them to recall a time when they were in need and someone helped them.
Let them earn money. Whether it’s through an allowance or chores around the house, let them earn money from which they can give. When they possess money, the feelings of sacrifice and joy will become a little more real.
Introduce them to pastors and missionaries. Giving to the local church should be a priority. Let them meet those who help multiply their money’s Kingdom impact. Hopefully, they will see that they are giving to something much larger than themselves.
Show them how to give at church. And it is probably best not to start with online giving. If there is a moment when they can give during a kids worship time, tell them about it. If they sit in the main service with you, bring some cash with you and drop it in the offering plate, or let them do it.
Consider sponsoring a child. This can help address a few of the points above. Tell them about the child you are sponsoring. What is his or her life like? What does your giving do for them? Pray for the child. Help your child connect their giving to real life-change.
Don’t guilt them into giving. Try not to push them too hard. God wants generosity to be an outflow our hearts. You should want the same thing for your children. Forcing them to give, regardless of their own desire, will not produce joy but resentment.
Kids are amazing at detecting hypocrisy. So it’s not enough just to tell them about generosity, we must actually be generous.
God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. Strategize how you can teach your kids to be conduits of God’s generosity. Your intentionality may help them realize the great things God has in store for those who are generous.