Giving. It’s not something that comes naturally to some. Actually, I should say I think that it comes very naturally to the little people around us. They see someone in need and think that it is very obvious that we should give to help. I think that it is as we become older, we hold more tightly to “our” money, “our” stuff, “our” things.
What’s sad is that for all of us, we forget that it is not ours. It never was, it never will be. Everything that we have been given has been a gift. Blessings from God…and I imagine that He is just sitting there anxiously awaiting us to figure out how we are going to give it back to Him. Are we going to wisely invest the money or throw it away on useless items? Are we going to give it to those who are in need or help buy a snack for a friend at school who doesn’t have the money? Are we going to set a goal of saving toward something specific that we can then use to bless others?
Yes, we all have needs. Our basic human needs. And we have wants. And they aren’t bad either – but teaching small children the difference is walking a fine line.
I have seen the AMAZING PROVISION OF GOD when Chris and I have faithfully given out of nothing. When we write that check KNOWING that there are other needs we have, other bills that need to be paid. It is painful sometimes (being honest here – my humanity soooo doesn’t want to) – but I have witnessed time and time again of God providing in our need…and amazingly, in our want, too. I have stories and stories of times over my life like this and could fill pages and pages of His goodness and mercy in my life, but that’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is how we decided to try to impress upon our children the importance of Giving – Saving – Spending. I think my parents did a good job with me on this…I got an allowance, FIRST set aside what I was giving to God, THEN had to choose what I was saving and what I was using toward lunches and needs. (So, if I wanted more money to save, I packed my lunches, and didn’t buy.) My parents weren’t the kind that gave me 20 dollars to just go to the mall with my friends; they just said, go check your bank. And because of this, it taught me to budget and wisely use my money. (at least most of the time! :o)
So for our children, we did some research. We’ve worked with them quite a while on saving. And when they wanted something, they took money from those jars. And when they wanted to buy food for the Horn of Africa Food Crisis through World Vision, they took money from their jars. (Ask Hudson about this – he is passionately concerned about the people in Southern Africa and their lack of food!) And if they wanted to put some in the bank, they sent it to Poppy.
It was working – but we wanted something more. So I found this great idea online, and with a little tweaking of our own style, we came up with the “bank of Hudson” and the “bank of Anna”. Each week they are paid a minimal amount (that’s another post) and they must equally divide the money between give – save – spend. It’s also been a good early division lesson for Hugs.
We’ve been doing this since September, and they love it. And you know what has been making my heart sing? When gifts in a card come to them for Halloween and Thanksgiving and they want to put it all in “give”.
Now that is the kind of heart adults need.
I have a lot to learn from my lovebugs.