How you handle your money has a massive influence on how your children will handle their money. Certainly, everyone has a choice in the matter, but when it comes to stewardship giving it is Dad and Mom who will set the trajectory for a life of financial generosity.
Charles Collier, the author of Wealth in Families, stresses the need to ask what he calls the “Big Questions.” One of the most important questions according to Collier is “How can we nurture the growth and development of our family members, and what role does money play in their life journey?”
Jesus taught about money, a lot. In Matthew, he talks about personal treasure:
Matthew 6:19-21, 24
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Whatever you store up, you will spend much of your time and energy thinking about. The materialistic trap is “the root of all kinds of evil.” We should not be fascinated with possessions, or they may possess us.
So how do we grow generous givers? Here are some thoughts from The Fourth Partner:
1. Expect children and teenagers to give: Creating an understood expectation can sometimes be more beneficial than a requirement. When parents give children an expectation to do something, parents give them the responsibility to choose and then rise to the standard on their own.
2. Show children and teenagers what you give: Too often giving is a family secret for any number of reasons. By showing children and teenagers what parents give to, children are educated not only in the reality of what their parents give to but also what they are passionate about.
3. Match children’s and teenagers’ giving: When parents financially match their kids’ giving, parents begin to understand what touches their kids’ hearts and kids discover that parents also value those causes.
4. Take kids along: Parents are often surprised at how much children learn just from being with them and being included in ministry visits or meetings. This practice can open up all sorts of conversations about what people are doing and give kids memorable experiences. Parents are often surprised at how much teenagers absorb just from watching and being exposed to the work they are involved in. In time, they may want to go on their own and they will know what to ask and for what to look for in a ministry needing support.
5. Celebrate children’s and teenagers’ giving: Parents can find ways to let their children know they are noticing and are proud of their giving. If God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), then it’s okay for parents to show their teenagers that giving can be joyful instead of merely a grim duty.
Question: What project can your family do together to follow through with giving? Click here to reply.
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