(Inside: Help kids learn to love giving using the once-a-month strategy. It’s a simple way to help kids notice needs and jump in to help.)
We are working as a family on helping our kids learn to love giving. We just finished month two of our yearlong, once-a-month family mission to do a better job of sharing God’s love with the world through giving.
Last month we prayed and gave financially to an organization that supports orphans. This month, I wanted to give more tangible items. So, we decided to participate in the food drive and toy collection at our church.
I fully planned on taking my kids grocery shopping, but, in a blink of an eye, the day the food needed to be brought to the church was here, and we didn’t have our bags of food. (Ugh. Darn school, activities, work, and all the other responsibilities.)
I thought I’m done. Giving tangible items is DEAD TO ME. (I’m never dramatic at all.) But, seriously, I do wrestle with the “give big or don’t give at all” mentality.
Yet, I promised myself I wasn’t going to stress about this giving journey. My goal was for intentionally giving to become more naturally integrated into our lives, but not to be self-critical about making sure it all rolls out perfectly.
Instead, I just want to create and strengthen some habits. For example, as we are shopping for ourselves, I want us to think about what a need the school or our church or community member just communicated and pick something up to help. And I especially want to act even when it doesn’t feel like a small action is making a difference. I want to trust that small steps add up.
However, getting to that stage is a process.
So, I shook off my feelings of failure so early in this journey and told the kids to, instead, look through the pantry for food.
It all went smoothly except for my kids trying to give already opened boxes and my youngest crying, screaming, and chasing my middle son around the house demanding the chocolate chips to eat. My middle son sprinted from his brother, chocolate chips raised high above his head, shouting, “But…they are for the orphans!” (I guess I didn’t do a good enough job explaining who the food was for.)
Once we got the food sorted out, we moved on to gathering toys.
Besides working on giving tangible items, we wanted our kids to feel giving a little deeper this month. We decided they were going to give away some of their toys. (Can you feel their pain?)
Our church takes donations of kids’ items. Twice a year, our church opens our doors to the community to come shop for free gently, used kids’ clothes, toys, strollers…you name it. Then there are also donations of diapers, formula…etc. The lines to get into this “kids’ store” always wrap around the church building like it’s Black Friday. I wanted to contribute some toys to the free store.
We gave each kid a bag and told them to fill it with toys.
After some whining on their end and coaxing on ours, their bags became heavy. Then when my kids weren’t looking my husband and I filled up quite a few more bags, and we dropped them off at church.
And with that, we wrapped up our giving this month: food and toys. Even though I was that mom that forgot to get her kids to the store to purchase the donations and the kids took a hot minute to get on board with sifting through their toys, we ended up with bags of food and toys. So, we’re calling this month a success.
And as a bonus, we’re enjoying the gift of a de-cluttered home and fewer toys to pick up.
Next month is Christmas, the season of giving…
So, we continue this once-a-month generosity journey looking forward to one of the best giving seasons of the year.
|Our Family’s Once-a-Month Giving/Service Projects were featured on parenting.com. (This blog’s original name was Since I Became a Mom before it became Empowered Moms and Kids.)|
Are you also trying to raise kids who love to 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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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.