“Freely ye received, freely give.”
One of my goals as a parent is to teach my children to care for the needs of others, through their time, talents and resources. I want them to serve others with a willing heart, giving glory to God by taking care of His other children in need. I realize that the more I teach them to do this now, the more it will become second nature when they’re adults.
Most American families are wealthier than most others in the world. We live in a culture of abundance and I want my children to use their abundance for good. You too? Here are a few suggestions on how to do this as a family:
Have your family donate money to a cause you care about. Designate a regular budget for giving. Don’t worry about the amount, even a small amount can make a big difference! Maybe the children can use a portion of their chore money or allowance to contribute to the cause. Talk together and decide where your money should go. Ideas include sponsoring a child through Compassion International, a food bank, your local library or animal shelter.
My family has sponsored a child through Compassion International for seven years and it’s been a pleasure to see our child grow right along with our children. We write him letters and enjoy when he writes back. Compassion has a wonderful magazine for kids, Explorer, which has articles, activities and pictures all about sponsored children and their homes. It has been a great visual to my kids of the conditions in which children in poverty live. It reminds us to be grateful.
I also highly recommend checking in to see if the Compassion Experience will come to a town near you. We did this in December and it was amazing! You walk through a building set up with scenes from a past sponsored child’s life. You listen as they tell their story on a headset. You’ll hear about how they didn’t have much money or food, but how their Compassion sponsor helped change their life by providing them with resources and giving them hope in Christ. My children loved it and we ended up sponsoring second child as a result.
Instead of monetary donations, you can also donate canned goods, school supplies, gently used clothing, toys and household items to organizations that need them. Take your children with you when you deliver the items you’re donating.
Find a cause your family can rally around. What interests do your children have? Is there someone you know who has a non-profit that can benefit from your time? Check with your church or other organizations you support, like the Boys and Girls Club, your parks and recreation department or the Salvation Army. Even young children can help pick up trash or stuff envelopes. Or visit a local senior citizen’s home and play cards or do crafts with the residents. The elderly love visiting with children. You can make their day by taking your family to visit for a few hours.
Make volunteering part of your regular monthly schedule. Get everyone on board and set a regular time on the calendar.
Matthew 10:8 reminds us of how God has been so good to us. He has freely given us so much, so we in turn should give freely to others. I’d love to hear about how your family decides to do this! Leave us a comment or send us a picture of your family in action.