5 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Givers

5 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Givers

As parents, we want to train our children to be lifelong givers. Not only will it impact many lives, but it will give them so much blessing and fulfillment in return.

Here are five ways we’re seeking to teach our children to be givers:

1. Model It

More is caught than taught when we’re raising children. We can tell our kids how important giving is. We can read them stories of people who give generously. We can stress how much of a difference we can make in the world. But our actions will always speak louder than words.

Let your children see you giving generously — whether that’s opening your home up to those in need, serving in a local soup kitchen, going on a missions trip, giving to a charity near and dear to your heart, or sacrificing time and effort to help someone who is struggling.

We involve our children in much of our giving. We collect money as a family to give to causes we believe in. We often have them right next to us when we’re reaching out and serving those who are struggling. We write letters to our Compassion children. In the big and little things, we want to model a life of giving for our children.

5 Ways to Teach Children to Be Givers

2. Teach It

While modelling giving in front of your children is the highest priority, it’s also imperative to teach them why we give. Don’t expect them to just pick up on it all on their own. It’s important to help them understand the why behind the what.

We’ve sat our children down from a young age and explained to them the reasons behind why we’ve chosen to stay out of debt, to live simply, and to not use credit cards. It’s not just so that we can be in a better financial situation, but so we can be in a position to give generously.

As opportunities arise while we’re living life, we continue to talk with them about how blessed we are when we give. When they participate in a giving project with us, we talk with them about how it makes them feel, about what an impact they are making, and how we want to continue to live simply so we can give generously.

Operation Christmas Child

3. Simplify It

Giving doesn’t have to be big and elaborate. It’s often the simple things that can make a big difference.

Look for opportunities that might seem small, but that are perfect for a young child to be apart of. We love Operation Christmas Child for this reason. It’s something that the whole family can be involved and a project that our children get really excited about.

We also encourage our children to earn money by jobs around the house and then to use some of that money for giving projects. Last year’s family giving project was spear-headed by the girls. And they’ve decided to do the same this year and have been working hard to fill the money box with cash they’ve earned from chores.

5 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Givers
4. Practice It

As often as is possible, give your children little opportunities to serve and give. Develop the habit looking for ways to bless others from a young age. A life of giving is borne out of practicing the attitude of serving again and again until it becomes your natural response.

Have them help you around the house. Encourage them to do things to bless their grandparents or elderly neighbors. Give them chances to give up what they’d like to do or have in order to help or bless someone else.

5 Ways to Teach Our Children to Be Givers

5. Celebrate It

Giving is so much more fun when you celebrate it! Find the joy and excitement that comes from giving anonymously.

Give lavishly of yourself for others and you’ll be so blessed in return (Need some encouragement in this? Go get yourself a copy of Love Does by Bob Goff.)

And most of all, praise your children when you see them being givers. Celebrate their giving spirit and it will only inspire them to give more generously in the future!

Teaching Our Children to Be Givers
This post was underwritten by Shultz Photography School. Their mission is to teach moms & dads the secrets of professional photography. Why? Because the images you take of your kids, as they do ‘actual life,’ are the photos that matter most. Hands down. They will tell your family story and shape your legacy. Shultz Photo School is a step by step, web-based class that’s self-paced and custom-fit for busy parents.

photo credit; photo credit; photo credit

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Less Greed, More Generosity

more-generosity

During the month of October, I’m following along with Edie & Ruth on their 31 Days of Less & More journey. I’d love for you to join in by reading the posts and completing the projects, or just sit back and read along each day.

Less Greed

It’s easy to give from our abundance, but true giving requires sacrifice. This is something God has really been teaching me in recent years.

Since I’m not one who is very attached to many items, giving stuff to other people is fun, but it’s relatively easy to do. For instance, if I’m going to be getting rid of an item anyway, is it really a sacrifice to pass it onto a friend instead of tossing it in the Goodwill box? No, not really.

Giving of my time and effort, on the other hand, is an area where I often struggle. I can be stingy when it comes to giving of myself or setting aside my neatly planned out day to meet a need in someone’s life.

When a child needs me to drop everything I’m doing to help them with something, I can be feel frustrated or interrupted. Or when my husband calls and asks me to run an errand for him, it’s my natural reaction to feel irritated.

For me, that’s often the giving that matters the most. Because it’s giving where it really costs me something.

However, every time I give in a way that requires sacrifice, I’m so very blessed in the end. And it inspires me to let go even more and live with arms stretched out wide.

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More Generosity

When Jesse and I traveled to the Dominican Republic one thing that struck me was how generous these people were. They barely had anything and yet they were constantly offering us what little they had.

And they weren’t just giving us their leftovers; they were offering us their very best — the best chair to sit on or the best food they had to eat. It deeply challenged and convicted me.

I want to live my life with arms open wide. Willingly and gladly giving of my best for others. Holding nothing back. And at the end of my life, I want to have used up everything I was given — for others.

For more on this topic, check out Ruth’s post on Less Greed and Edie’s post on More Giving. I promise you’ll be inspired and blessed!

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Stop Trying to Make Yourself Happy & Start Focusing on Making a Difference

Recently, I finished The Charge by Brendan Burchard and while I didn’t love that there was a lot of language in the book (call me a prude, but I don’t think you ever need to use four-letter words to make a point!), I found some of the parts really inspiring.

I especially loved this quote:

“You want to change? Then do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to settle on a vision or a calling or a simple change in any arena that is uninspiring. If you’re going to have clarity on something in your life, make it something so big and bright and shiny that you will get out of bed and chase it until you grasp it or die. Bring forth a desire that knows no safe boundaries and even scares you a little bit, that will demand all the best that is in you, that takes you out of your own orbit and onto new and unfamiliar ground. That kind of desire changes your life, and it changes the world.”

What are your goals in life? Are you thinking long-term or just trying to live through the next hour? If your goal is just to survive, that’s probably not going to give you a lot of excitement about life nor fuel much passion for existence.

If you want to live an amazingly fulfilling life, you must live for something bigger than yourself. Stop trying to make yourself happy or comfortable and start focusing on making a difference in someone else’s life.

When I started living for bigger things than just the moment, it completely changed my drive and enthusiasm for life. Here are my current long-term ambitions for living:

  • Nurture a vibrant relationship with the Lord.
  • Invest time and effort into my marriage in order that it would be strong, thriving, and last for the long haul.
  • Raise children of character who will grow up to be world-changers.
  • Challenge families to get their finances in order so they can be generous givers.
  • Inspire women to live with intention and purpose.

Will I see all of these things to completion in my lifetime? Only God knows. But I do know that investing my life into things that matter makes every day worth waking up for.

You only get one shot at life. Don’t waste it!

photo credit

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Donate your Pampers Gifts to Grow points to Oklahoma victims

Here’s another way donate to the Oklahoma tornado victims for those who are on a tight budget.

Pampers is sending relief kits to Oklahoma to help those families with babies and small children. If you’d like to donate toward these relief kits, you can donate your Pampers Gifts to Grow points here. Every 10 points donated equal $0.10 donated toward the Oklahoma relief kits.

Pampers

If you’ve not signed up for Pampers Gifts to Grow, you can sign up here and get 100 free points. You can also add an additional 10 free points to your account here.

Thanks, Sarah!

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Perspective Changes Everything

Sunday afternoon, a huge storm blew through Kansas. Our area got pummeled with hail up to the size of golf balls.

When the wind and hail finally subsided, we emerged from our basement to discover leaves and broken limbs scattered all over outside. Every home in our neighborhood suffered some kind of damage — whether it was siding that was punctured with hail marks, screens that were ripped up, windows that were broken, fences that were blown down, cars that were dented, or trees that were partially uprooted.

Our home was spared some of the worst, but our shutters and siding were pretty pummeled, our front garden looked trashed, and two of our windows were broken (we’re still waiting to hear whether our roof was damaged or not). In addition, our children were pretty shook up about the whole experience since the wind and hail sounded so ferocious.

However, in light of yesterday’s tornadoes and the destruction they left in their wake, the damage in our neighborhood is so inconsequential. Our lives were never in danger and while our house might be a little beat up, it is still standing strong.

No matter what you might be going through in life, no matter difficulties you might be experiencing, it likely pales in comparison to what those in Moore, Oklahoma are going through today.

My heart broke as we watched the footage last night. I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

Truly, perspective changes everything.

If you have a sturdy roof over your head, a closet with some clothes in it, a little food in your fridge, and family and friends to hug, you are very blessed today. Remind yourself of that the next time you feel like complaining or wishing you were in someone else’s shoes. I can almost guarantee you that someone wishes they were walking in your shoes.

Would you like to help those in Moore, Oklahoma? Check out this simple idea here and also click through for this long list of places to donate to here. If you know of other legitimate opportunities, would you email me or leave the details in the comments?

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My Year of Kindness Challenge

Guest post from Dallas of Day-by-Day Masterpiece

In December 2012, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Both books inspired me greatly, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to be a better person.

How could I give more, do more, brighten more, serve more? And then the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, and I mourned with the rest of our nation.

In my shock and grief, three questions kept rising to the forefront of my thoughts, refusing to be ignored:

  • How can I refocus and remember what truly matters?
  • How can I bring more love and joy to others?
  • How can I use my blessings to make a difference for others?

I want to be grateful and I want to be joyful; and in my experience, the best way to do so is to give gratefully and joyfully to others. I want to work on stepping outside myself {my petty grievances, my small problems, my unhelpful worries} and focus on the people and neighbors and global community around me.

So on the first week of January 2013, I started my “Year of Kindness Challenge” by pledging to do a random act of kindness for every week of the year. Some examples of kind acts I’ve done so far include:

  • donating canned goods to a food pantry
  • giving hot chocolate to someone out in the cold
  • writing and mailing a kind note
  • delivering Valentines to a nursing home.
  • baking cookies for a neighbor
  • leaving quarters on Laundromat washers & dryers

As a newly engaged graduate student trying to save money for my wedding, I knew when I started this challenge that I would not have much money to spare. So I am intentionally choosing every kind act to be inexpensive — some are even free! Also, they all take a short amount of time, so they can easily fit into a busy schedule.

What I’ve learned…

You do not need a lot of money to brighten the lives of those around you. Nor does it take much money to brighten your own life.

All you really need is a kind and open heart, a little creativity, and the willingness to make a positive difference. Who knows the ripple effects of kindness that will spread from your kind acts?

It’s very rewarding to keep track and reflect on acts of kindness – both the kind acts you do and the kindnesses others do for you. Chronicling my experiences on my blog every week has been a wonderful way to relive the joy of the kind act I did that week, and it’s also made me feel more aware and grateful for all the blessings in my life.

Whether it’s a sweet note I received in the mail, a door held open for me when my hands were full, or a free refill of green tea at Starbucks, taking a moment at the end of the day to write down and remember the little kindnesses I received fills my heart with contentment.

My weekly kindness challenge quickly became a priority in my life. It might only take fifteen minutes, but it undoubtedly boosts my own happiness and feelings of connection and positivity throughout the entire week.

Kindness really is contagious! The more I give, the more I want to give and give and give.

Will you join me?

Dallas Woodburn blogs about joyful, healthy living at Day-by-Day Masterpiece. She is also the author of two collections of short stories for children and teens; her latest, 3 a.m., was featured on the PBS book talk show “Between the Lines” and is available on Amazon.com. A passionate advocate for young writers and readers, Dallas is the founder of the nonprofit organization Write On! For Literacy and the publishing company Write On! Books, through which she edited and published the acclaimed anthology “Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing.”

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