There’s something that seems a little sinister about taking money from a child. Notions of stealing candy from babies, and depriving kids of hard earned cash leave many feeling like… it’s just not cool. When it comes to asking our kids to give to the church, sometimes it can feel like we are forcing our ideals on them, maybe even against their will. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Teaching kids good stewardship has nothing to do with taking their money, it has to do with teaching them generosity. It’s about building values and establishing healthy priorities and practices with their money. It’s akin to teaching our kids to share, to be selfless, to be concerned with the needs of the community.
Don’t be afraid to teach your kids to give. It’s essential to their future money management. If they can’t plan to put aside a portion of their money for charity, it won’t become a habit in the future. What’s more, we deprive them of the joy of giving and the character development that accompanies it when we let them run willy-nilly with their finances.
Teaching your kids to handle their money with proper priorities and discipline will set a strong foundation for sound financial practices for years to come.
Here are some tips to teach your kids about giving:
1) Have them start giving in substantial amounts. When kids don’t have any expenses, it’s easy to shave off 10% for donations. It doesn’t really affect their bottom line. To let them know what sacrificial giving means, it’s important to let them see how it will affect what they can do with the rest of their money
2) Consider a 1/3 split: 1/3 in savings, 1/3 to spend, and 1/3 to give to charity. If they can do it when it’s this hard, they’ll be able to sustain it when their expenses increase in real life.
3) Lead by example. Show your kids how you give. Tell them why you give. Let them see how the sacrifice is worth it, because of the joy in knowing you’re doing something good for others.
4) Help them see the impact. If you answer the “why” of giving by showing them how it helps churches, communities, charities, and individuals in need, it will help their heart match up with their head.
5) Make it a habit. Take them each week or month to make their donations. Let them see this as a bit of a ritual that should stay with them their whole lives. They’ll start to enjoy the process and feel good about how they are contributing to the cause.
6) Teach them about giving. There are no shortage of resources and scriptures that speak to the heart of generosity. Help them understand the importance of generosity through sound teaching.
By getting your kids started with giving at a young age it will: develop character, create an awareness of others and their needs, establish sound financial practices and principles, and reward them with the satisfaction of knowing their money was used for more than their desires. What’s more, they will start to experience God’s blessing that accompanies a heart of generosity.
This instruction will not only affect how generous they are. It will also help them manage their money in all areas. They will become good stewards who handle their money well, but don’t hold onto it too tightly.
It’s good for them. Good for their future. And, good for the Kingdom. You’ll be glad you helped them take those tough first steps to a long and rewarding future in finances.