December 16, 2014

Teach Children to Give

Children have difficulty getting past receiving gifts on Christmas to consider others, especially those they don't know well. Christmas is an ideal time to love others with our actions to share the love and faithfulness of God.

We all have something to give, even when our own funds are limited and days filled with meeting the needs of others. This post is part of the #RedKettleReason campaign I was happy to participate because we need to stop and consider others, especially at Christmas. 

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
Teach children to give with a generous spirit.

Charity Begins at Home

When it comes to children and giving, they need to experience it first-hand. For some families, this means volunteering at a shelter. For others, it means emptying piggy banks or giving their favorite stuffed lion. It may be as simple as baking a batch of cookies to take to the local firefighters. Let the children observe the ways you give and share of yourself. They will learn to do the same.


Some adults like to keep a gift card handy to give to someone in need. Others keep a gallon sized bag of granola bars, toiletries, and socks in their glove box so they can pass it along to a person who needs it. Others make it more personal and spend time every month as a family serving meals or visiting shut-ins. Parents can bring their children along to volunteer at a food bank, library, or church.

Parents can guide children who earn an allowance to set aside a portion of what they get to give. It may benefit the children to actually see what their parents give. When I was a teen my father showed me his bill book and helped me to understand money better.

As parents model giving time, money, and more, children will understand that giving makes us better people.

Give with Sacrifice

Recently one of my children explained he was happy to give away toys. Then he added that he liked to give away toys so he could get more toys. Obviously, we've missed the point of giving. Children and adults alike can learn a lot about themselves if they give with sacrifice instead of just giving away unwanted and unused items.

Our own family once committed to giving a certain amount of money regularly above our regular giving to something we really wanted to support. In order to do this, we did not have cable/satellite television for a year (though we did use our rabbit ears). This may not seem like a big deal, but for my husband especially, it was a sacrifice. Giving with the checkbook is good, but giving with the heart is even better. What can I give from my heart today?

For me, it goes back to Jesus. Jesus came to earth as a human and lived for his Father's glory. That's sacrifice. And that's how we are called to live. Even if I don't measure up daily, it should be my goal.

The victims of disaster or abuse, military families, the elderly, the lonely, the addicted, the jobless, and the gentleman who just had surgery may all need help. Give. Work with and support great organizations like The Salvation Army who have been doing the most good for over 130 years.

The Salvation Army #RedKettleReason

In 2013, The Salvation Army served over 30,000,000 Americans in need with 59,000 employees and 3.4 million volunteers in addition to the 120 countries and territories where they serve around the world. The Salvation Army targets and meets needs in local communities. They serve in the name of Jesus without discrimination. To find out how others are helping and how you can help, visit RedKettleReason.org. They can even pick up items from your home.

I can trust this organization with my time and money. Donations remain in the community where it comes from. According to The New York Times, “The Salvation Army is widely considered exemplary among nonprofits in handling cash collections.” With 82 cents of every dollar directly supporting community service programs, The Salvation Army far exceeds the Better Business Bureau's guidelines of 65 percent.

My little town doesn't have a lot of stores, but we have at least two red kettles with volunteers ringing the bells to collect money to serve the community. So often people walk by with eyes averted because they don't want to give. Even if you have no cash to give at the moment, consider thanking the bell ringer. What they do is important, but it's often a thankless job.

What do you do to teach your children to give sacrificially?

~ Annette
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7 comments:

  1. It's good to read that stat about the Salvation Army - it makes me feel better about giving to the bell ringers.

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    1. :) I've so a social media graphic that claims some well-known charities are not as good with how they use money...and likely are not a true charity. I was glad to write this post!

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  2. Great post Annette! I encourage our kids to give as well and they're pretty generous, but it's hard to break out of the "gimmes" at Christmas. I like the idea of some kind of sacrifice to give from the heart... will have to think about that but I think it means more than just giving money. Thanks for getting me thinking :)

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  3. Wow, I never knew that percentage number about the SA, that s great! Such a great post....

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  4. That reminds me to look out for a red kettle this season.

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  5. I love the bell ringers and I love The Salvation Army's work. It's invaluable.

    And I agree with everything you said about us needing to learn how to give.

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