I don't profess to be an expert on this subject. Actually I'm rather a newbie, but don't we all want our kids to be generous? Don't we exhort them daily to not be selfish? How do we instill in them a generous heart?
Well, prayer. Obviously.=) Generosity is an attribute of God. God is the "giver of every good and perfect gift." His ultimate gift was the gift of His Son Jesus Christ to pay the price of our sins so we can spend eternity with Him.
Be a good example. How generous am I? Sometimes I feel as a mom that I give and give and give. But how selfish am I with "my" time, food (you know what I mean...as soon as you start to eat something, everyone wants a bite.), resources? We need to set a good example by having an open hand/heart policy with our possessions.
We also have to give. To other believers, missionaries, ministries, and even the bell ringers at Christmas. Mr. Hippie and I have started to talk to our kids about who we give to. Not flaunting it. But if they don't know we give, how will they learn? And we also support all of our giving with prayer. Each person we give to is also on our weekly prayer list.
Encourage them to give. This year we simultaneously started two new things for school-allowances and geography. So this is my plan. We are studying a country for a 4 weeks-doing maps, culture, food, and history. I want my kids to write a letter to a missionary in that country.
And here is the giving part. They will give a tithe from their allowance to that missionary. Now their tithe over a four week period is only going to be $5. Not much. What will they learn? That God's math is different than ours. That every little bit helps. That it is not what you give but what you have left. (i.e.-the widow with her 2 mites, and the boy's lunch) And the importance of giving to God first, and making a habit of it.
Plan in action:We studied Egypt this month. There are currently no missionaries from America in Egypt because of the political situation. But there is an arm of the American Bible Society-the Egypt Bible Society, that is printing Bibles and tracks for believers and non believers.
The boys gave their limited tithe to the EBS, and also sent an email. They included some of what they learned about Egypt, including God's promise in Isaiah 19 about how God will judge Egypt, but that in the end times the Egyptians will love and serve God. They have expanded their worldview, and are praying for the believers over in Egypt.
And the thing is, God blesses cheerful givers. Always. I know this for a fact. My boys' blessing came a bit sooner. The director from the EBS sent them an email this morning thanking them for their gift. She said they were an encouragement to many believers over there.
She also told them that that promise from Isaiah is a blessing and encouragement to the believers in this difficult time of political upheaval. They have worship songs based on this passage. Isn't that amazing! My boys' were thrilled to hear back. They are committed to pray for Egypt and the EBS. And they are encouraged to keep giving. And I have a proud mom moment.=) But am also so thankful to that dear lady for writing back, and just helping my boys' learn some lessons that I could say, but it would not teach quite like this.
I like that saying, "it takes a village to raise a child." I am so thankful that the things I teach my kids are being reinforced by other believers, even around the world. They hear you, see you, follow you. Thanks for being good examples.