But don’t forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God. (CEV) Hebrews 13:16
Jesus came as a servant leader. Christ generously gave himself to the world. He is the greatest example to teach our children what it means to be generous. As they grow and develop, we can teach our children to have a heart for others the same way Jesus did. These lessons on generosity can start at home.
The Bible teaches us that we please God when we share what we have to help others (Acts 20:35 and Luke 6:38). So how do we teach our children to be open-handed in a close-handed society?
Here are a few ideas on how you can help your child develop a generous heart and make a plan to put it into practice.
Generosity begins in the heart. In Mark 10:45, Jesus teaches that putting others first is truly what it means to be great. Greatness equals service. Christ’s love for people drove him to serve others. Generosity is not something we do just because. We’re generous because we are Christians. Christ is our perfect example. Explain to your child the “why” behind generosity. Talk to your child about people and causes important in their heart. Don’t forget to share what’s important to you.
Be generous with talents and possessions. Everyone has something they can do or give to benefit someone else.
Is your child a good artist? Make cards for the seniors in your church or neighborhood.
Is your child a hard worker? Donate toys, books, or clothes with an annual spring cleaning.
Help them see how their blessings could bless someone else.
Be generous in effort. Anything we do should be done in the name of the Lord (Colossians 3:17). Point out that half-hearted giving is not true generosity or pleasing to God. Provide examples of generous effort versus half-hearted effort. How we do something is just as meaningful as what we do.
Be generous with time. Once your child has identified what’s important to them, plan time to give back. Remind them that giving does not always mean money. Generosity with our time to help someone else is just as important. A few examples may be:
Give up TV or video game time to spend with family.
Help a friend or sibling with homework.
Babysit a younger cousin or neighbor.
Check with your local food bank for volunteer requirements. This can be a great two-in-one opportunity—serving others and family time.
We are our children's greatest example of generosity. We can teach them what “sharing is caring” truly means. In the process, your own generosity will grow as well.
For more ideas on serving through generosity see the parent blog Love Service.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's articles Teaching Our Children Stewardship and Parenting: Fostering Compassion with an Offering of Coins.