Saturday, November 20, 2010

Teaching Our Children to Give

It seems like an odd topic, especially with the holidays right around the corner. How do we teach our children to give?  How do we instill in them what the Bible says, that it is more blessed to give than to receive?  The way most people seem to be frantically shopping for the newest and latest toy or fad that their children want, it seems like a foreign concept.  But, as Christians, it is our duty to teach Biblical principles, rather than wordly ones.  I am always amazed that people say they are worshipping the Christ-child at Christmastime, yet how many people ever give Him a gift?  How do we worship Christ and continue to amass things to ourselves?  People in stores just get more and more selfish and frustrated.  They push and shove and even fight one another to get the latest technological gadget.  How do we model a different way of giving?  First of all, I will tell you that our family does not have all the answers.  We do not have it all wrapped up.  We are simply sinners saved by grace, and nothing more.  These are some of the ways we try to teach giving to our children.  God may lead your family to approach it differently. 

1)  Giving must be taught year round.  It is not enough to give gifts to others at Christmas or should be a way of life for a Christian.  How much of your income goes to helping orphans, widows, the persecuted church, your home church?  These things are a way of life, not a one-time splurge when the mood hits.  Christian living is sacrificial living.  How about sponsoring a child from Compassion?  How about making bags of essentials for persecuted Christians who have lost everything for naming the name of Christ?  What about giving monthly to an organization that has blessed your family and needs the funds to further their ministries...Lamplighter, Vision Forum, etc.  A tenth of our tithe is the minimum requirement...what about giving more?  And that tenth should be before the government takes our money for taxes.  God comes first.  He should never get the leftovers.  We have chosen as a family to sponsor three children through Compassion International in Africa.  We allowed our children to choose the sponsored children.  They chose the ones who had been waiting the longest for a sponsor and who were in the AIDS infested areas of Africa.  My oldest daughter has freely given money given to her to help these children.  Showing our children what other children around the world are facing makes them understand their blessings, as well as their responsibilities to help others in the name of Christ.

2)  We give regularly to the persecuted church.  We pray for Christians being persecuted in other places because of their faith.  We receive the Voice of the Martyrs magazine and the children see what it means to name the name of Christ.  They realize how much we take for granted in this Western culture of ours.  It is a good reminder. 

3)  We limit what our children see by way of magazines and such.  We do not do TV, so they are not bombarded with the latest commercials for toys and such.  But, we cannot stop people from sending those free catalogs around this time  of year that is chocked full of toys.  So, most times before they enter the house, they are thrown away.  We choose the catalogs they view.  Right now those consist of Vision Forum, Lamplighter,  and Keepers of the Faith. 

These are just a few of the ways we try to instill giving in our children.  And we have begun to see fruit of those labors.  Another by product of this is that our children don't ask for expensive gifts and my problem is usually trying to think of something to get them because they do not ask for much.  My oldest daugther (14) has asked for a journal, books (such as Joyfully at Home) and a small purse.  My son (9) has asked for a $12 pop gun from Vision Forum, a police coloring book and he wants to learn how to play chess.  My daughter (7) wants some Betsy-Tacy books and a journal.  My son (6) wants deodorant (to be like Daddy), chapstick and a $12 pop gun.  And my youngest (4) wants a stuffed guinea pig, a drawing pad, a housecoat and a $12 pop gun!!!  She tells me she is going hunting with the boys!  What a blessing it is to get a list such as this! May we as mothers continue to teach our children that it is truly better to give then to receive.  The best way to do this is always by modeling.  May the Lord teach us to be givers...what better way to show the world the love of Christ today and everyday!


Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

What a great post! 5 of our 8 Compassion children live in Africa. I love how my own daughters have learned about how blessed they are and have also grown a heart for helping those in poverty since we became involved with the organization.

The Heaton Family said...

I'm seeing a theme with the pop gun! How precious! I'll have to check out Vision Forum.
Great post. I teach our children to give by giving of our time too. We try to always have some sort of volunteer project going on each month tha we do as a family. It has become an expectd part of our lives. I have found that when they give of their time in the service of others, they also automatically give of their posessions too.

Keep up the great work in training your children. These things don't just come automatically, they need to be learned and then modeled by mom and dad.

His bondservant said...

Yes, we are teaching our children the act of giving through their time as well. And you are so right, they do go hand in hand.

Wow, how great your family is sponsoring 8! Wouldn't it be wonderful to take a trip to meet them one day! We ae hoping to do that sometime, but if not here...maybe in Heaven!

Trisha said...

Wise words, Jackie! Isn't it a blessing to have children who can delight in the simplest of things?

I appreciate your list of suggestions for cultivating giving hearts. I'm thankful for a large family, too, because we have to stretch ourselves daily and give of ourselves to one another that we might glorify Him in all things.

May our children be known for their giving hearts that show the love of Christ to all around them.

God bless you as you daily raise those sweet gifts from God for His glory! Have a beautiful weekend. :)

His bondservant said...

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I gain so much insight from glimpses into your family life and do so enjoy "visiting" you through your blog! God bless!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

It is so important that we teach our children to give to others and to think about someone other than themselves.

We have an African pastor, family and congregation that we minister to. We send them boxes of clothes, food, books, Bibles, candy and all kinds of misc. stuff. It has become our family ministry and it is a joy to see their faces when they read the emails and see the pictures of these people actually wearing their clothes and playing with the toys that they have given them.

Cinnamon said...

Thank you for your sweet comments on our blog and for visiting~

I'll be back to read more :-)


Chelle said...

I also teach my children to give. I just read a book called the success factor. It is a very good book. I don't know if it is a true story, but it really makes you think about others instead of yourself. I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving. I would like to send you a Christmas card if that would be O.K. If it is you could e-mail me your address to I really enjoy your friendship even though I have never met you in person.

Lois said...

I love this post, it really speaks to my heart, as this is what we try to teach our children as well. We started sponsoring a Compassion child a few years ago, and both my kids gave money monthly and wrote letters. Sadly, our first sponsoree in India lost her only parent to death, and she moved out of Compassion's area. We still pray for her daily, knowing we'll probably only see her in heaven. But we got another girl from India, and also adopted a boy from Equador who has the same name AND birthday as my son!

Also, we donate to Samaritan's Purse, primarily through Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. The kids save their money all year in a piggy bank, and we buy things throughout the year for shoeboxes. Their 4H club is now involved, and our Bright Lights group. It is such a blessing for us as a family to be able to pack several simple shoeboxes filled with items for a child who has never received anything. And, I get a kick out of my kids spending their own money on small items I think are for themselves, but then they tell me it's for the shoeboxes.

I hope and pray this current generation of young people will have hearts of compassion for those less fortunate, and will give generously in the name of Jesus.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

This is such a great topic and one dear to my heart. For Christmas last year, we sponsored a child from World vision for one of Josiah's Christmas presents. We're continuing that this year. Also, we love the VOM ministry, too. In fact, instead of giving our parents gifts this year, we are giving each of them Christmas packs to India in their names. Talk about making Christmas shopping easy!

Camille said...

Oh I enjoyed this post Jackie...thank you for taking the time to share your heart! How true it is that our society is so "me" it must grieve the LORD to see it. How easy it is to become tainted by the world's way of thinking. What a blessing that you are teaching your children these things while they are young.

Many blessings to you my friend!

In His Love,