Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Conversation: Teaching Generosity to Kids

I understand, "the conversation" often goes something like this:

Parents: You kids have too much. 
Kids: (silence)
Parents: Let me teach you how to be Generous. 

My parents never had "the conversation" with me. After all, we lived in Brazil and we were surrounded by slums where people had the most heartbreaking needs.There is nothing wrong with having "the conversation" tough. I believe it's good and much needed. 

My kids are not growing up in Brazil. As a matter of fact, they have both citizenships but they have yet to see what Brazil looks like. What they do have, is their father and mother as an example. 

how quickly they grow!
I do not plan on having the conversation with my kids that often. I do hope to model what Generosity looks like. Growing up in Brazil, I saw my grandmother feed a family of 14 who would come over often because they just didn't have enough food to eat. She never "blew a trumpet" about that. She shared her good food as well as Jesus with them. I don't know if they ever accepted Him but the food went to their house in His name.

My uncle would feed the homeless downtown with his youth group often. He'd give them food and share Jesus with them. He'd welcome them with dignity to our church, no matter how dirty they looked, they always left with new clothes, food and a smile.
You see, the conversation wasn't needed because of the examples I saw all the time. Generosity became a daily part of life.

Learning to share by making baskets
Whether I like it or not, I'm a constant, living example of generosity to my kids. I often pray that I can be generous with my time and talents. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to write a check and meet a need. Often times, all I had was a smile, a prayer in Jesus' name and my undivided attention.
When visiting the sick one time, I didn't have money for flowers or anything fancy but I had cooked beans earlier that day. I heard God nudging me to take a bowl of beans to the person. I can't tell how embarrassed I was to pack my kids, the beans and show up for the visit. I obeyed anyway. To my surprise, the person told me "how did you know? I love beans!!! Thank you!" I have learned through this and other experiences to listen to the gentle voice of God. He always know what I am supposed to give.
My kids are growing up quickly (one of the reasons we call them #growinguplistenbee) and one of the new things for our family is Fundraising. I dreaded the idea at first because the parents do all the work. I have since learned to welcome it as a teaching tool. The kids are learning to get others involved in the beautiful work of God as they fundraise to build a school in Senegal. They are learning what it really means to give out of the much we all have been given. They are also experiencing the joy of generosity. It is true that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

This will not be our last time helping them fundraise. I am in awe of God's grace and favor as we join forces as a family to be even more generous.

Whether you and I have "the conversation" is not relevant. The important thing is to constantly encourage kids to have a heart of generosity because God is so generous Himself.

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