(Inside: How to teach your kids to give from the heart using the once-a-month giving strategy.
This month of giving made me shake my head and laugh.
It reminded me of my 3-year-old’s last birthday. We’d put thought and effort into buying him nice new toys and then as an afterthought, I also picked up three $1 blow-up dinosaurs that stand about a foot high each. He opened up his thought-out-cost-money presents and liked them just fine. But, when he saw the $1 blow-up dinosaurs (our afterthought), you’d think we sent him to Disney. Pure joy illuminated.
We had a similar type of experience this June in our giving journey.
June was crazy busy. Between wrapping up my teaching and my own kid’s school and activities, the first two weeks of June were exhausting. Then we were out of town for over a week visiting my Grandma. In the midst of the busyness, I never planned a service activity for our family in June. (We are working as a family on giving more. If you want to know why or more, click here.)
But, when we on our road trip, waiting for our food at a restaurant, a glass jar on our table caught our attention. A local church was collecting food donations. God nudged our heart and we gave what we could. The kids had so much fun stuffing money inside of the jar. Honestly, in the past, I would’ve put way more thought and effort into our month’s service/giving activity. This moment was a like the $1 blow up dinosaurs that my youngest preferred over the gifts I spent time and money one. The little jar in the middle of our restaurant table was our kids favorite chance to give. They happily talked about helping to feed people in need. They felt the joy of giving.
Two thoughts struck me:
God can always meet us right where we are at…even when we drop the ball and even when we let our lives get too busy.
It is okay to keep it simple. Our kids are just kids. Simple to them is sometimes preferred. It is often me that makes things too complicated or too much work. When I do that, I miss the great joy simple moments can hold.
|Our family’s Once-a-Month Giving/Service Projects was featured on parenting.com. (This blog’s original name was Since I Became a Mom before it became Empowered Moms and Kids.)|
If you decide to take use this giving strategy, remember this is YOUR THING. Do what God places on YOUR HEART. Whatever works, big or little. Your family will be moved by however you decide to extend your hand. And hopefully, so will the people you give to.
Read what parenting.com says about the benefits of teaching kids to give:
“The benefits of actively fostering children’s charitable impulses are enormous. Besides helping counter the overdeveloped ‘gimme’ impulse, it gives kids a powerful boost in self-esteem to realize they can make a difference in someone’s life. ‘And as corny as it sounds,’ says Patricia Schiff Estess, a New York City writer and the author of Kids, Money & Values, ‘when you help a child help others, you are helping to create a better world.'”
Favorite eye-opening books that nudged me to see the amazing part of God’s work that we can do daily. Exciting stuff we get to be a part of.
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.