How to raise your children to practice generosity. 4 ideas you may have never considered for cultivating a generous spirit.

How to raise your children to practice generosity

Ruthie Rearing 11 Comments

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Are you tired of sibling squabbles over the last cookie, “she took my headphones”, or the pecking order: “My stuff is mine and yours is too”? Are you wondering how in the world to raise your children to practice generosity?

Part of generosity comes with maturity.  Right now, the Two-year-old Tornado thinks everything is his property. That’s because he’s two.

Don’t despair!  Your children won’t hoard their Skittles forever.  Mine actually share clothing with each other now.  But more importantly, they invest time and energy into the lives of others.

Let’s talk a bit about how you can foster a generous attitude for life.

 

How to raise your children to practice generosity. 4 ideas you may have never considered for cultivating a generous spirit.

 

1.  Practice generosity

Well they’re not going to learn generosity if you’re selfish.

Take a look inside for a sec.  Do you consider yourself a generous person?  Do you share freely of your time, talents, or treasures?

“Ok, I thought this post was about making my kids share, not ME!!!”

It certainly is.  And your behavior is the key to their generosity.

Do you get irritated when interrupted by people messing with your schedule?  Children, husband, others in your life with needs?

How you react determines your answer.

Giving freely of our time is key to giving freely of our abilities and possessions.

Let’s make sure we are practicing the art of sharing before we lecture our kids next time for embarrassing us at that play date.  You know – the one where little Sally won’t share her baby dolls or Bobby hoards all of the Leggos in a pile.

 

Your own generosity of spirit determines the generous attitude of your children. Click To Tweet

 

 

2.  Don’t make a big deal of your generosity

Our kids need to see us helping the neighbors shovel snow or preparing a meal for a family in need.  They need to know we tithe in church and help with Sunday School class.

What they don’t need us a running documentary every time we do it and how lucky these people are to have us.

Just no.

See the need, do the work, and move on.

Your kids will get it.  They pick up on the whole community thing when you’re in the practice of generosity.  And they will start giving of themselves as well, without tooting their horns either.

 

 

3.  Teach worthy causes

Make a list of people and places to which your family can give of time or treasure, and then start a family giving project.

Some ideas are:

Homeless shelters

Drug Rehab facilities

Adoption homes

Short or long-term missions

Your church

Our church sponsors a local drug rehab facility called Brian’s Safehouse.  This ministry was born out of tragedy – our friends lost their son to drug addiction.  They decided to use their pain to make a difference.  The safe house has since touched thousands of lives because of the ministry of this program.

My husband, the hunter, has donated deer to the safe house.  Other times we give monetarily.  Our kids know we support this effort and have also caught the vision for this ministry too.

Find establishments worthy of your time and money and get your family involved.

 

 

4.  Give with boundaries

You don’t have to give your house away.  You probably need to keep a few clothes.  Your family needs down time.

If you give to the extent of burning yourself out, that totally defeats the purpose.

Remember, your family is your NUMBER ONE MINISTRY.  Second to none.

Make sure you pay your bills, take time for regular car and house maintenance, and be sure to give the husband some TLC.  (Don’t put him last!)

God blesses us so we can share.  But He does not expect us to disregard responsibility or self-care.  Even Jesus took time away from the crowds to gather His thoughts and pray with the Father!

 

Learn to model generosity and pass it onto your children. You will reap joyful rewards! Click To Tweet

 

 

Through modeling it and letting God have rule over your time, abilities and possessions, we lay a valuable pattern.  We reap unexpected returns by giving – joy, peace, and community, not to mention generous attitudes of our children.

My husband and I have been moved to tears by the generosity we’ve witness in our own children, and humbly thanking the Lord for using us in the process.

That graphic up there with the hand?  My daughter drew that for an art class.  Last Christmas, she snapped a picture of it and, along with her sister, compiled 100 photos in a flash drive and presented them to me for blog graphics.

Can you say, “Parent WIN”?!

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons;  freely you have received;  freely give.  ~Matthew 10:8

 


 

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I looked at my calendar and determined that I could stay home from the upcoming play date (because someone may have the germs). Later that night, I suggested to my husband that we stay home from church on Sunday. He kindly reminded me that I needed to let go of my obsessive fears over the kids getting sick. I knew deep down that he was right, but I could not get my brain to wrap around the concept.

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“Real and lasting change is more than simply doing less. It’s about doing the things that nurture strong relationships, that help us to zero in on our unque calling in a world with too many options.  Breaking the addiction to busy is a choice to live in peace and to focus on what is true and what is positive, (Philippians 4:8).”

Comments 11

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      Author
  1. Thank you so much Ruthie! What a blessing to be featured here today! And you are spot on for raising generous children. I especially like your point on remembering the stages. With example, guidance, and lots of prayer they outgrow the “mine” stage and move on to finding joy in blessing others. Blessings!

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  2. What a generous gift your daughter gave, the 100 photos for graphics! Now that’s a far cry from “My stuff is mine and yours is too!” These are great ideas for modeling generosity. I especially want to be generous with my time. My daughter and I have taken a few opportunities to volunteer together and have been so blessed.

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      Author

      Betsy I was ecstatic to get that flash drive and it will last a long time! The cool thing is, they continue to send me pics as they take them so I’m all set! I think time is the hardest thing to give, really. But also the most rewarding, as you said!

  3. I love your article about teaching generosity! I especially love that you discussed not making a big deal out of it. As it says in Matthew 6, just do what needs to be done without calling attention to it. I think it’s important for kids to learn not to expect a reward every time they help out someone else. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

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      Author

      Bree, thanks for hopping over! I can tell you truly desire to rightly divide the Word of Truth and seek to glorify our Lord in your life. Thank you for specifically mentioning the point that resonated with you. It’s nice to have direct feedback, and yes it is important for kids to learn giving is the most important thing, not receiving.

  4. The best way to teach is to lead by example. Teaching generosity certainly begins at home, being generous with each other. Going out of our way to show little acts of kindness speaks volumes. I’ve been wanting our family to get involved in the community, being generous with our time. I hope something comes up soon that we can be a part of.

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      Absolutely, Renee! Whatever it is we want our children to become, we must be ourselves. I’m sure there will be opportunities for you to serve with your family, some even surprising!

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