This season I am trying to teach my children about giving. Not just giving because you should
but giving because He gave. It has been a pretty hard topic to teach by traditional teaching methods. Plus as I was thinking about how to teach this to them I was reminded that the best way to teach is by modeling. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart. :) Jesus taught by modeling and what better way to teach my children.
While out shopping in every store we have repeatedly heard " Mommy, I want this!" or " Why cant I have this?" or "But _____'s mom let them have it before Christmas." I will admit my children have repeated these things to me while in Target a few times, however the argument ends very quickly with an answer that surely turns other parents attention to me. I share with my children that although we have the ability to purchase these items that they claim to "want" and that we also all "want" things, these things are very rarely things that we need. So instead of the argument that happens at simple sight of a toy, my kids have been learning a lesson in giving and receiving.
They will ask and I will respond....
"Tell me how this toy will help you serve the Lord today and everyday you own it."
I completely agree that kids need toys to learn through imaginative play and so on and so forth but our children have an OVER ABUNDANCE!!!! So most of the time my kids really cant give me an answer that will convince me that they can use the toy for anything more then personal pleasure. However, other days they completely surprise me by their answers.
Just the other day Danielle and I were at Target.(i know, i know we are always at Target. lol) She not one time asked me for anything for herself. This is a RARE occasion. As we approached the Christmas Section of the store she asked if we had given to "Toys for Tots". We give every year but usually to gain something in return. (Im very embarrassed to admit this. but we are not perfect by any means) An unwrapped toy gets you alot these days. Sad. Anyway, she said she thought we should give 2 toys this year and that those 2 gifts should be something that her and Rylie had on their gift list. She said "Aren't we supposed to give stuff that you really want so your heart feels happy when another child gets a toy that they probably really really wanted?"
She went on to tell me that when we helped a family and donated to the BREAD BASKET at our church that she felt really happy inside. She shared that when she saw Kevin and I praying for needy families and helping a family friend, that it made her want to do it too. Then she asked "Is that joyful giving, if you feel joyful when you do it and not sad that someone got what you wanted?" Since then Danielle has given her very own savings(not all fo it...we are also working on being a good steward of her money) to various programs that her school sponsors including the Cancer Association and the local food pantries in our area. When asked why she will respond:
"Because I have been blessed." Simple child like faith. I love her.