(Inside: Raise kids who give and continue to give through their life. How to teach your kids to give from the heart using the once-a-month giving strategy.)
One of our parenting goals is to raise kids who give. We’ve been on a year-long journey, and 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 okay, they’re okay. 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.
But, when we were 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 hearts, and we gave what we could. The kids had so much fun stuffing money inside 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 like the $1 blow-up dinosaurs that my youngest preferred over the gifts I spent time and money on.
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.
On this raise kids to give road, two thoughts struck me.
First, God can always meet us right where we’re at, even when we drop the ball and even when we let our lives get too busy.
And second, 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.
So, we call this easy giving month a success and look forward to July.
Raise kids who give. Read more about our once-a-month giving strategy.
“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 (Amazon affiliate link) Kids, Money & Values, ‘when you help a child help others, you are helping to create a better world.'”
That lesson floating around our home for a year? Yes, please.
So, we started what we’re calling the “Once a Month” strategy. Each month, we looked for a way to give, and very often, it involves just noticing what’s already in front of us. (Convenient!)
Here’s how the once-a-month giving strategy rolled out:
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.
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