Teaching children about generosity begins in the home. Even children who are three years old can learn to give a toy to another child or to draw a picture for a sick friend.
The Lord tells us
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42
The most effective way to teach generosity to children is when parents model this behavior themselves.
Seeing first hand when parents give their time and money to schools, churches, families, and charities instills a behavior that children will model.
When children see their parents helping in Sunday school, serving the homeless, participating in worship, giving money in the offering collection, and helping a friend or family in need, they learn how to be generous.
They also learn by participating in the giving.
A few years ago, one of our neighbors had a house fire. I didn’t know them, but I can only imagine the devastation they felt at losing most of their home.
Our family decided to replace some of the lost items. It became our mission to find out the children’s favorite toys, where the teenager liked to shop for clothes, and what food the parents usually prepared.
We shopped together at the mall and grocery store, making it our task to find “just the right item” for each family member. I remember the sparkle in my son’s eye when he found the perfect Spiderman toy and said, “Mommy, he will LOVE this!”
Later we made supper together and delivered the bags of food, clothing, and toys to the family. My children were able to witness the joy on the faces of the family receiving the gifts, and the joy they felt at giving to others. Afterwards, my son said, “Mommy, that was fun! Can we do it again?”
I try and teach my children that generosity not only includes giving things to others, but also giving our heart to Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for: our home, our family, our friends, and our church. Generosity begins in the heart by giving our love and time to Jesus; getting to know Him and following His ways.
What better role model do we have than Jesus to teach our children about generosity? He gave his time helping and healing others, his money, and eventually, his life.
Instilling a generous heart can occur at any age.
Children are no exception.
Teaching them to serve not only helps others, but develops and nurtures their relationship with Christ.
I’m blessed we have so many opportunities to be generous! I look forward to the upcoming Christmas season and who my family will choose to serve next.