Raising up generous children and grandchildren can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. As you model a generous spirit and teach them Jesus' words that "it is more blessed to give than to receive," you kickstart a journey of growth in God, service to those in need, and greater overall contentment.
With these myriad benefits in mind, the following are some steps toward becoming a more giving family:
- Start small when you want to be more generous – If you're looking for a place to start in your charitable giving, you don't have to break the bank. Have each family member contribute a reasonable amount on their own, or pool money as a family to talk through the causes you'd like to support as a group. A Giving Fund at NCF is a wonderful tool that can make the process simple and fun.
- See your community with open eyes – In Jan Johnson's book Growing Compassionate Kids, she encourages families to look for ways to be generous in "life's normal moments." One tip she offers is to keep a "basic bag" in your car to hand out to someone in need. It can include things like a toothbrush, soap, a comb, or washcloth. You will be helping out someone who needs a hand, and modeling something beautiful for your children.
- Realize that being generous is not just about giving money – In Dave Toycen's book The Power of Generosity, he encourages those on the path to becoming more generous to think about their talents and skills. Sharing what you have means more than money. What skills do you bring to the generosity table? How can you help a neighbor or community group with your gifts of time and talent.
- Don't feel you have to reinvent the generosity wheel – Lots of organizations, churches, and schools offer ways to practice being a generous family without having to come up with a never-before-done idea.
- Discuss how your family ranks in its generosity – In The Giving USA's latest report, they discuss recent findings about American giving. View the report online, and talk as a family about how you rank in your generosity. Are you where you want to be? If not, discuss how you can be more giving.
Our friends at World Vision contributed to this article.