Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . Inspiring Generosity

How do you inspire generosity in your kids?

This is a question I'm asking myself a lot lately. Because while one of my children would give up absolutely anything to help someone else, the other is hard pressed to ever think about giving. Or want to give, even when it's not remotely sacrificial.

So this is my question to you, who may have already dealt with this. How do I inspire my children to generosity?

I certainly can't force them. Pretty sure if I make my children act selflessly, it would backfire. I'm trying to take opportunities in daily life to talk about the importance of giving (a popular topic this time of year). Of service. Of thinking of others.

It's not sinking in, thus far.

I thought we'd try something in the spirit of Christmas and asked the kids to pick out gifts for their friends and cousins. This sort of worked, until this particular child told me what fun it was...because they knew they'd get to play with them at the friends' and cousins' house. (Le sigh) (And yes, writer-me was deliberately using "they" to refer to a singular person, because I want to avoid gender here in referencing my kiddo, LOL.)

I'm stumped. And giving it a lot of prayer. Because while I'm fine with kids being kids and would love to be assured that this is a phase children grow out of, I'm not willing to be one of those parents that waves off behavioral or moral issues using that excuse. But I'm also not remotely a tiger-mom type that will be an iron fist enforcing exactly what I deem necessary. Trying to strike a balance here, and I could definitely use some thoughts from you guys.

Have you ever noticed a decidedly selfish bent to one of your kids? How did you address it? Did it worry you?

I'm not gnawing at my nails in anxiety here or anything, but I do believe it's my responsibility as a parent to foster virtues in my kids. Some come to them naturally, a part of their personality. Others are more difficult. Have you noticed that?

So what do we, as parents seeking to raise God-honoring children who love Him from the depths of their hearts, not just by rote, do to foster those good traits that they're lacking?

I'd love to hear what you've found that works, either with generosity or other lessons in virtue that a child may have struggled with!


  1. Absolutely Roseanna, all our kids are so unique and what comes easily for one doesn't mean it will for the other. But then you'll find that they have their own positives that the others don't. So while we definitely should encourage giving and all other good things, I think some will always be different... Or at least have a different time-frame. That's what I've mostly found with my three... Each of them matured emotionally and spiritually at such vastly different ages. When it comes down to it though, I believe being an example is often the best thing we can do, and allowing them see the joy it brings to you and the receiver. You sound like you're doing an amazing job just by the fact you're thinking and praying about this!

    1. Oh yes, this child certainly has other strengths, and the sibling other weaknesses. This just stands out this time of year, LOL.

      Thanks, Noela. That's been my current plan--to set the example and establish activities. And bathe it all in prayer.

  2. As you stated, be an example. Key them see the things you want them taught in you as parents, be it kindness,generosity, patients, love, remorse, forgiveness,temperate in nature..well you see,and as they grow so will they. Sometimes they may need a reminder in the form of words but as they mature the lessons will begin to come out.

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  4. Yes, we'll said ladies. Being a good example and lots of prayers are the most important ways to approach something like this. I would also encourage showing what bad examples are through watching movies or reading books together. Talk about why that is a bad example. Scrooge was selfish, and watching him at his early stages could be a way to express what and how selfishness reflects on a person. I can't think of another example currently, but kids seeing how bad it will look and how it affects others can be eye-opening. My two cents.

  5. In our experience, modeling is the best way. You guys keep waking in faith and compassion and share your thoughts openly. Admire those traits in others and show your children. "Wasn't that wonderful how Mrs. So-in-so helped that friend? " Your modeling well produce fruit in your kids.

  6. I pray everyday for God's grace in there lives. I'm concerned as well but then I will see my kids be really good with other little kids,be very kind to animals and even though they pick on each other you'll see them make a Christmas gift for there siblings without being told to. So there is hope and never stop praying for them.