Teaching kids kids to be generous is not easy. It is against human nature to share. Adults don’t like to share either, we just learn how to hide it better.
My husband and I teach our kids tithing like it isn’t an option. It is just a matter of fact. You give back to God 10% of everything He gives you. But to get our kids to go beyond tithing and into generosity is not an easy task. Back this past winter, my sister’s oldest two kids had a joint birthday party and instead of receiving gifts, they collected items for kids in Africa. I thought this was a great idea to rip off.
So when Elijah’s birthday rolled around this July, I asked him if he would like to collect something at his birthday party instead of gifts. He immediately said no. I let it go and tried again a few days later. This time I told him that he would still be getting gifts. His dad and I as well as his grandparents, cousins, etc… would still give him gifts, just not the kids invited to his party.
He agreed and we selected Beds 4 Kids as his charity. We thought it would be cool to have a huge pile of bedding to load up after his party.
Then this past September, Graham followed suit. Graham collected stuffed animals for the kids at Levine Children’s Hospital.
I was so proud of my boys. Once they made the decision, they never complained. And they were still blessed with gifts and money from those closest to them.
I am not a perfect parent. I do not seize every teachable moment and share bible verses with my kids daily. And I don’t know that we will make this a birthday tradition. (I hope we do but I want it to be their choice). But I hope their generosity will inspire their friends to be generous (as their cousins did for my boys), and that maybe my kid’s generation will grow up to generous givers.