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the 5 generosity principles to teach your kids

By Alexandra Khan | 20 June 2014 | Comments (3)

The five generosity principles to teach your kids

Generosity is a world-changing principle: and it’s one that can be taught from a young age.  Read on to find out how:

1. It's cool to be kind

What was cool when you were a kid? When I was at school, it was Pogs and Tamagotchis (remember them?).  If you had lots of either, you were cool. If not, you might as well suck lemons... read more

What was cool when you were a kid? When I was at school, it was Pogs and Tamagotchis (remember them?).  If you had lots of either, you were cool. If not, you might as well suck lemons. Nowadays the stuff that's cool changes on a monthly basis. Kindness might not even be on your child’s cool-o-meter. So how can you teach this principle? First, model kindness yourself. A child needs to see an action and a consequence to learn a behaviour, so take them on the journey with you. Bake a cake for a sick friend and deliver it together. Get excited about making someone else happy. Be sure to praise kindness whenever you see it – whether displayed by your child or someone else.  Try these activities with your child:

 

2. The value of time

Our time is the most precious commodity we have to give away – moreso than money. Rather beautifully, time will be the gift your child has in abundance  - years before they earn a single penny...read more

Our time is the most precious commodity we have to give away – moreso than money. Rather beautifully, time will be the gift your child has in abundance  - years before they earn a single penny. Teach them to use it well, and the impact of the lesson will resound in later years when (hopefully) they decide to prioritise people and causes over paychecks and self-servitude. When I was small my mother made me visit an elderly neighbour weekly. I’d sit with her, drink tea and smile politely while she told me about her thimble collection. It seemed odd at the time, but I’m glad my mother made me do it. It cultivated a different form of generosity.

  • Encourage your child to spend time building a new friendship at school
  • Talk to your teenager about the amount of time they spend on social networks and video games. Discuss the pros and cons without lecturing them, and challenge them to spend at least an hour of face-to-face time with a friend or neighbour for every half hour they spend on Facebook.    

3. The ten percent rule

The ten percent rule is a simple principle that says ‘whatever money I get, whether it’s a gift or my monthly allowance, I’ll give ten percent away’. It’s up to your individual family to decide where and how to distribute that money, but it’s a vital value to teach...read more

The ten percent rule is a simple principle that says ‘whatever money I get, whether it’s a gift or my monthly allowance, I’ll give ten percent away’. It’s up to your individual family to decide where and how to distribute that money, but it’s a vital value to teach. Firstly, you’re saying to your child that they are stewards of whatever they’re given. Secondly, you’re showing them that giving is a priority. Before they run out to buy their sweets or Apps, they’re putting ten percent into the giving bank. It’s a necessary preparation for a life of financial generosity.

  • Set up a children & family giving account for your children, which will grow with them into their very own charitable giving account
  • When you put a coin into a charity bucket with your preschooler, take a moment to explain to them where the money is going

4. You will make a difference

Teaching your child that they can make a difference isn’t about boosting their ego, although it’s important to build their confidence. It’s about teaching them that although there is great hardship and adversity in the world, their contribution is vital...read more

Teaching your child that they can make a difference isn’t about boosting their ego, although it’s important to build their confidence. It’s about teaching them that although there is great hardship and adversity in the world, their contribution is vital. It is about teaching them to persevere and be creative when it seems like hope is lost. It is about living out a faith that says, ‘Greater is He who is in me...’, and using that faith to impact the world.

  • Child sponsorship with Toybox or Compassion is a great way to teach your child to get behind a cause. The photo updates they’ll receive make it a tangible reminder of the difference they’re making to other lives
  • Why not create a birthday campaign with charity: water? Once you've raised the funds for clean water, charity: water will send you photos and coordinates of the well you helped to create, so that your child can see the difference being made across the world.

5. It's better to give than to receive

It runs counter-intuitive. A few years ago John Lewis ran a TV advert that made us all cry. Why? Because it highlighted a truth that the Bible has been telling for millennia – that giving is always better than receiving...read more

It runs counter-intuitive. A few years ago John Lewis ran a TV advert that made us all cry. Why? Because it highlighted a truth that the Bible has been telling for millennia – that giving is always better than receiving. The Bible is quite clear – the blessing is greater for those that give than those who receive. It is multiplied.

Giving - even giving sacrificially - no longer has to be painful. Charities are creatively harnessing technology to make giving a really fun thing to do. Wouldn’t it be fun to create or adopt a word for charity? Or even to twin your toilet? It’s important to teach your child to give without seeking prestige or applause for themselves, but these kinds of novelty campaigns are genuinely fun to be a part of, and may mark the start of a journey into philanthropy.

  • Instead of throwing a party, encourage your child to give up their birthday for charity.
  • Positively reinforce your toddler every time he/she shares well with others, and when your child is a bit older, discuss Jesus’ messages about giving and kindness and explore what that means for their lives.

What are your tips for encouraging  your children to be generous? Let us know your suggestions and stories in the comments.

Posted by Alexandra Khan

Alexandra is a digital marketing executive for Stewardship. Originally trained in music, she went on to spend a few years in the videogames industry before making the leap to the NFP sector. Follow her on Twitter: @alxkhn

comments:

Marcus Davage

September 3, 2014 9:28 PM
Great principles to teach and to live by. We go a little further with our kids and teach them to put a third into savings. One daughter gives a third, saves a third and keeps a third. A generous heart indeed.

Marcus Davage

September 3, 2014 11:17 PM
Great principles to teach and to live by. We go a little further with our kids and teach them to put a third into savings. One daughter gives a third, saves a third and keeps a third. A generous heart indeed.

Alexandra

September 5, 2014 8:25 AM
Marcus - that's exactly what my folks did with me when I was a child. It laid a really good foundation.

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