Hi and welcome to Beyond the Pew. My name is Jennifer Stavinoha and today we are talking about generosity and how to show your kids how to be generous.
So, I don’t know about you, but when I think about generosity, I think about this big, rich guy giving to the poor out of the excesses of his wealth. But that’s not really what generosity is. So many of us, when we hear generosity, we think, “I’m not rich, so I can’t be generous.” Or, “I’m not really in a position to be generous because my family and I are struggling financially.”
That’s not what the Bible tells us generosity is. In Luke’s Gospel we hear Jesus tell us the story about generosity. There’s two main characters. A rich man and very poor woman. The rich man goes into the temple and he gives out of the excess and abundance of his riches. He gives so, so much and then there’s this poor woman who only gives two copper coins. And Jesus says it is the poor woman, who has given the most because she gave her entire livelihood.
Is Jesus asking us to go empty our bank accounts and give all of our money away? Probably not. But He is telling us that generosity requires sacrifice on our part. Like any virtue, kids need to see generosity modeled and they need to practice it. They need a way, in baby steps, to be able to practice generosity.
I remember the first day, in my own life, I saw my mom actually help someone on the side of the road. I grew up in Houston so there are a lot of people on the side of the road asking for help. It was Black Friday, there are all these cars and people and there was a man on the side of the road asking for money. My mom rolled down the window and handed him a package. It was a Ziploc bag with trail mix, a water bottle, an apple, socks, and a little bottle of shampoo. That alone was so good for me to see and it was so good for him to receive. It was what he needed in that moment. My mom was able to be generous to him and show him that she actually cares about his livelihood even though my mom was struggling financially herself.
When I saw that, that really inspired me to start being generous in my own life and the way that I treat other people. I realized the world doesn’t revolve around me. Other people have struggles and problems too. God is calling us to help others no matter what financial situation we are in.
Some practical ways we can teach our kids generosity.
- The travel package thing is a great idea. With your kids, put together Ziploc bags so when you see someone in need you can give it to them.
- We all have gift cards that we’ve been keeping for over a year or so. Give them (or even coupons) away.
- Have your kids put money in the basket at mass, even if it is your money. Have them place it in the basket to teach them the generous act of giving to the Church.
- If your kids have an allowance, have them tithe ten percent of their allowance to the Church!
- Christmas Angel gifts, diaper drives, or school supply drives, take your kids shopping to purchase those gifts and go together to drop them off!
Teach them to start practicing generosity now! If your kids see that you are being generous, then they can learn this and be generous in their own lives. I hope this was helpful! We will be praying for you and your adventure into generosity! God bless!