Happy Motherhood Monday, friends! Today we’re talking all about generosity. I’ve put together 3 things for us to consider when talking about generosity with our families, and I’ve got a challenge for us to jump into together this week.
Something I think we’d all agree on, is the idea of teaching our kids to be generous with giving good things.
We also want our giving to make an impact. I know if I told my kids to go to their rooms and come back with 2 things to give to other children who might not have toys, their instinct might be to come back with the weird barbie with the head they shaved or the book with a ripped cover. While that’s a good start, I don’t want them to give just to give. I want their giving to have an impact – I want what they donate to actually help someone – to be useful. Perhaps requiring that they give “good things” stings for them a bit, but that’s ok. Sometimes the most powerful generosity is the kind that’s sacrificial – that gives just a bit more than we’re entirely comfortable with – and we can start to instill that in our kids at a pretty young age.
We can also remind our kids that their generosity can extend beyond giving “stuff.” Yes, people need food, blankets, books, toys, etc., but we can also give of our time, our talents, our full presence when we’re with the people we’re serving, right? When our kids are able to grasp this, they’ll quickly discover that there are moments to be generous every single day!
We want our children to give freely!
This means that they’re expected to give with a good attitude. God loves a cheerful giver! As parents, how much can we relate to this? Let’s say I ask my kids to do a chore, maybe feeding the dogs, and immediately they start complaining, dragging their feet. The look on their face is like I’m forcing them to do something horrible! That tends to not be a fun experience for me. I’d rather just not have them do it (now they’re getting out of it – which is a topic for whole other episode), but my point is that how we do something can sometimes be more important than what we’re doing.
This is so often true with giving. Giving that’s done begrudgingly, giving that’s a chore, giving while we complain – that’s not how I want to teach my kids to give. Giving is about the recipient – and the whole exchange is so much sweeter for the recipient if my kids give with a good attitude.
Make generosity fun for your family. It sounds kind of cheesy, but giving can be such an adventure. It’s fun to watch people’s reactions to your generosity. Explore with your kids how special it is to see how generosity makes them feel inside! Let’s point out to our kids what a privilege it is to be in a position to be generous – how awesome is that?!
We want to give from a mindset of abundance.
It’s hard to give with a clenched fist, right? There is plenty out there for everyone! Our lives are plentiful! In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covery writes: “The Abundance Mentality, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, recognition, profits and decision-making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.”
Now, let’s hear his definition for the opposite. He says, “The opposite of an abundance mentality (or mindset) is the scarcity mentality (or mindset) and can leave us feeling stuck, financially struggling, overwhelmed, down, often feeling worthless and jealous of others’ success and achievements.”
We can teach our kids to live from an abundance mentality – this is such a powerful life skill. If we can start to teach our kids that filling someone else’s cup doesn’t mean emptying their own – what a beautiful way to live life, right?
I was thinking of a practical way we could encourage our families in generosity this week, and had this idea of creating a Generosity Challenge. It’s a fun sheet of 20 simple ideas to practice generosity. Print it out, stick it on your fridge, tape it to your kitchen cabinet. Or, you can try putting it in an 8×10 frame and using a dry erase marker to check it off. Challenge yourself this week. Maybe each morning, go over it with your family and let everyone choose one way to be generous that day. Make it fun! If your kids want to do the same one over and over – fine! The point is just to spend a week focusing on and teaching generosity.
I would encourage you, don’t let it end there, discuss it with them! You can do this on the drive home from school, during dinner, or when you tuck them into bed. How did their generosity impact someone else? How did it make them feel? Why is it important to be generous? Leave me a comment below or send me a DM on IG @themotherhood.podcast to let me know how it goes! I cannot wait to hear your stories this week!