Yesterday we talked about things YOU, as the adult, can do personally. Your kids need to see you model generosity; they will learn through your example. But one of the best ways to instill values into your family is to practice them together. I know a lot of kids who watched their parents do this or that, but they never learned how to do it for themselves. Generosity is a wonderful character trait to practice together because there are so many opportunities and ideas.
Today, I brainstormed five ways you can practice generosity as a family:
1. Decorate a jar as a family and save up your money to donate to a specific cause.
Decide as a family who or what you want to donate your money to and what target goal you want to reach. You can make one of those cool posters that help you record how close you are to meeting your goal. Maybe you and your kids can donate your soda or coffee money into the jar to also learn about sacrifice. If you don’t already, you could let your children earn some extra money for work they do around the house. Use this opportunity to teach them how to “save, spend, and GIVE.” Praise your children when they give, especially when they do extra work to raise extra money. Talk about how God will take their gift of money and use it to help others. When you donate the money, take your children with you. It will be a memorable experience for all.
2. Plant a family garden and share the produce.
Depending on when your growing season is (I know many of you are experiencing frosts) this may or may not work right now. In Phoenix, we are pretty much able to grow different plants year round. Planting a garden could be a fun Spring activity for your family. It allows you to teach them 1) how to grow plants 2) sustainability 3) about nature. When your garden matures and you have green beans and squash coming out of your ears, share your produce! Have your kids take some over to a neighbor in a basket, a family who cannot afford much fresh produce, or to an elderly couple at church who can no longer garden themselves. I know receiving fresh produce always brightens my day!
3. Visit a nursing home.
Take your family to a nursing home once a week or once a month to spend time with the people there. They love the company, and many of them rarely get visitors. Children are sure to brighten their day! Eat dinner with the people. If your children are old enough, have them read aloud to one or two people. It will do them both good! Play games with the people there. If your children have talents such as playing the piano or singing, consider letting them perform.
4. Share Food.
Bake a meal or cookies as a family and deliver them to an elderly couple or widow in your church. Search your pantry and go by the grocery store to take food to a local food bank. Bring your children along to pick out the food and take it to the food bank. If you can, stay awhile and help the food bank distribute or organize the food.
5. Sponsor a child.
There are thousands of children waiting for sponsors around the world, and even in the United States. Sometimes children’s homes here in the US need sponsors to provide for the care and education of children. As I mentioned yesterday, there are many great organizations to sponsor a child through, but we personally use Compassion International. We sponsor a sweet boy named Axel in the Dominican Republic. His picture is always right above my computer screen to remind me to write and pray.
Sponsoring a child puts a face to the person you are expressing generosity toward. The sponsored child may be close in age with your children, allowing for a long-distance friendship to form. In addition to saving and sending the monthly money, you and your children can write letters to encourage your sponsored child. Your children can even send small gifts or raise extra money to send their way.
In addition to expressing generosity, sponsoring a child allows your child to learn about another culture, country, and it opens their eyes to world-wide poverty. Sometimes you can even take a mission trip through organizations like Compassion International to visit your child. If you sponsor within the states, it would be even easier to visit your sponsored child.
This is just the tip of the of the iceberg of ways your family can practice generosity, but I hope it gave you some ideas!
What are some ways that your practice generosity as a family?
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