Growing Grateful Givers: Beginning steps toward stewardship with your children

growing_grateful_givers.png

Here it is sweet friends...the article on finances. What does is look like to teach our children about money? Talk about a daunting task! Thankfully, the Lord calls us to it and this is one more thing we can do through Him! Are you ready? Let’s go!

Several factors play into how we teach them about money.

The greatest determining factor is likely based upon how we were raised and what we were taught. Maybe you grew up with very little or maybe your family had a lot. Perhaps you were never taught as a child how to steward money. Today I hope to offer a smidge of wisdom from both the perspective of how I was raised along with some things I’m still learning.

My dad was a pastor of a very small church and we didn't grow up with a lot of money, but we always had what we needed. If my parents were ever weary in that season, I don't remember them complaining. In fact, they made every effort to bless us when they could. Little gifts or even eating out was such a treat and a joy and were never taken for granted. The sacrifice and conscious choice to walk in obedience to what God had called my parents to made a lasting impression on my heart.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are the vacations we took growing up. Every year we took a road trip to explore different states: Maine, Washington, D.C., Texas, Florida, Colorado and many more. They didn't spend a lot of money but we were able to experience and create memories as a family that will last a lifetime.

Whatever background you come from, here are some principles that hold true.

1. The importance of teaching our children the value of money. My friend had a wonderful idea of creating three mason jars labeled with the words, tithing, saving and spending on them. These jars provided an ideal opportunity for our girls to tangibly place their money in each jar and for us to talk about what each stands for.

growing_grateful_givers-2.png

2. The importance of teaching our children to give back to God through tithing. All we have is from the Lord. What a privilege it is to offer a portion back to Him out of that which He has graciously bestowed on us. This is our chance to lead by example. Can you say conviction? Yikes! My heart is feeling it. I often forget to teach them this. An easy way to demonstrate this principle is by simply allowing them to see us tithe or let them be a part of the process. I want them to grow up with a giving heart and to learn to give back to the Lord, regardless of having much or little.

growing_grateful_givers_quote.png

3. The importance of teaching our children to give to others. Do you ever find yourself holding onto something tightly? If I am being honest, there are moments I find myself in that place. I don’t want my kids to struggle in that way. A simple way to help them have a giving heart is to annually go through their toys with them. Ask them to be willing to pick some things out to give to those in need. Let them give out of their own hearts. If they don't want to, gently use this time to reinforce how much we have been blessed and what a joy it is to give out of what God has given us. Don't force them, just keep pressing into the conversations and continue to be an example for them to see. You’ll find this is a good lesson for your heart as well!

4. The importance of teaching our children to save their money. Saving money teaches them discipline and hard work. I remember saving up for a 10-speed bike when I was in 3rd grade and making a savings goal thermometer and filling in that line to see how much money I was saving. When I was able to take the money out of the bank and buy that bike with what I had saved on my own, it was thrilling! Likewise, when I was in high school and saved up for my first car all on my own, I was so proud. You would have thought I was driving around a BMW, not a blue Ford Escort (insert laughter here).

5. The importance of teaching our children to be grateful and not entitled. We need to be proactive in communicating the things they receive or get to do, as a privilege. Not in order  to make them feel guilty, but rather grateful. Our season of living with my parents yet again afforded us the opportunity to have many teaching moments of why we can't “get or do that thing.” As heart wrenching as it was to not be able to do all the "extras" for our girls, I wouldn't trade that season for the world. Any entitlement they previously had was stripped to the core. At one point in that season, I had a dear friend send me a box in the mail. She had put markers and color pencils with coloring books in for the girls and me to express that God was at work and we could still color in the season we were in. Honestly, you would have thought the girls received $100 each. I was overcome by their joy and so deeply touched by my friend's thoughtfulness.

There are many different approaches and factors that play into teaching our children about money. What a blessing it is to be able to instill the truth of our loving God and His provision for us. Are we willing to engage in that truth with our children and help point them down the right path? Maybe like me, in the process, you'll find you needed some of these reminders and perspective shifts in your own heart.

Posted on May 17, 2017 and filed under Building Your Family.