Would you like to prepare the children you love to have a lifelong habit of generosity? How’s it going?  Most of us believe in giving our money, time and talent to others but are looking for fresh ways to change that belief into action.

1) Share the joy you derive from giving.

generosity to thrift storeTalk about your giving experiences with them. Celebrate when things go well. Share the lessons you learn when things don’t turn out as you’d hoped. Start young to include them in your charitable efforts (as simple as having them in the car when you drop off donations to a thrift store). Be careful how you talk about their school’s fund-raising appeals. You’re teaching them how to react when a need is presented.

2) Find them a hero or mentor.

generosity in a sports heroIn whatever areas interest the child, you will find generous heroes (sports, music, etc). Sarah Trzepacz suggests asking the children’s librarian for titles featuring current and historical heroes “to infuse children with new ideas and renewed energy.” Find a generous hero or mentor among your trusted family friends or neighbors who might introduce new ideas and renewed energy into family projects.

3) High schools often require volunteering in order to graduate.

Sarah Trzepacz observed, “A teen who once enjoyed annual family outings to plant trees in a neighborhood park or sort canned goods at a local food bank may suddenly balk at spending their Saturday afternoon with family members. They may be letting you know they are ready to doing some giving independently from you.” How convenient that many high schools encourage this. Sit down with teens and find out what causes they are passionate about if you can’t already tell by their outside interests or the posters on their bedroom walls. Then if they never invite you to be involved in any way, do whatever you can to say yes and support them, without giving any ideas of your own.

4) Change the way children see generosity.

generosity and instant replay“Sports Illustrated cited instant replay as one of sports’ ’20 great tipping points’ of the previous 50 years and wrote of instant replay’s impact, ‘The revolutionary premise was that sports could be improved not by changing the games but by changing the way they were packaged.’” (Chris Erskine in the Los Angeles Times, 1-19-15)

Of the options mentioned above, which one stands out to you for its potential to change the way generosity is packaged in your family?

Tweetable: If your goal is to raise generous young adults, a couple of examples here might spark your new idea. Click to Tweet


My new book, Child-centered Spirituality: Helping children develop their own spirituality, is scheduled to be released on November 15th – just in time for the holidays!

Where did Grandma go when she died?

Why doesn’t God stop bad things from happening?

Many parents have experienced a child asking difficult spiritual questions– usually at inopportune moments. While we stumble around trying to think of an answer, we feel inadequate… and sometimes startled by their questions. If you’re like most adults, you try your hardest to avoid thinking much about questions like these. So why on earth is a child asking you about them?

We talk with our children about the importance of school work, about physical health, about how to navigate social difficulties. We even talk with them about sex, drugs, and internet safety… or if we don’t, we know we should.

So why do we find it so difficult to talk with children about God?

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, foster parent, or other caregiver, this is a book to help you engage with the children in your life about their spiritual needs.

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