Monday, November 30, 2009

Teaching our children to give!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and soon Christmas and then the New Year will be here!

In the busyness of this season I would encourage moms and dads to slow down and take time to share the real meaning of this season with their children. Read the Christmas story to them and tell them that Jesus was the greatest gift of all! Once you have told them the true story of Christmas it would be great if you could teach your child to be a gift giver. Jesus said in the book of Acts "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

There are lots of ways to teach your children to give all year 'round of course but the holiday season is a good time to start. Most of these ideas can be used even with young children (I used some with my 2 1/2 year old). Here are some ideas:

1. Let your child put money in one of the Salvation Army Buckets that are outside almost every store during this season. If your child is older and has allowance money encourage them to put a little of their own money in the bucket.

2. Lots of churches fill boxes for Samaritan's purse or missionaries. Take your child shopping with you and allow them to help you pick out the gifts and explain where the gifts are going and why.

3. Toys for Tots-there are a lot of drop off places for these. Your child can help pick out a toy (or buy one with his/her own money) and drop it off. This is a really great thing to do as toys are sometimes hard to part with.

4. Many places (such as missions) need lots of canned goods to help feed people. Check with your local mission (or if you don't know where to give food or other products ask your pastor). Mel Trotter Mission of Grand Rapids MI and Holland Rescue Mission of Holland MI are two missions that have lots of needs.

5. If you have older children take them to a mission or some type of soup kitchen during meal time. Have the children help serve the food and interact a bit with those who are coming in for the meal. This teaches them that their time can be just as valuable a gift as money or things.

5. Many homeless people populate our cities. Blankets & coats are a great way to help these people out. Check with your local church or mission as to what the need for these things are. Sometimes places like fire & police stations or even libraries are drop off sites for these things.

6. If your church is having a Christmas program of some sort have your child invite a friend or two who may not go to church regularly. This is giving the gift of the message of Jesus which is the most important thing you can do.

7. Have your child pass out tracts when you go around town this season. Giving the message that Jesus was born & lived & died to save us from our sins is the best thing you can give.

8. Bake some Christmas cookies and go with your child around the neighborhood to deliver them.

9. Go Christmas caroling around a nursing home, hospital or neighborhood & hand out tracts to those who are listening or cookies if it is allowed.

10. Go to a nursing home and give the gift of your time-talk to the residents and/or read to them. Maybe hand out a few home made cards that you and your kids made. This is a fabulous way to cheer up those who may not have lots of family or are not feeling well. Talking with those in nursing homes goes a long way to cheer them up! Just be sure to call and make sure it is ok to stop by first-and never hand out food without checking with the nurses:)

These are just a few ideas of ways to give. I am sure you can think of many more but I do encourage you to talk with your child about WHY you are doing these things. Let them know that Jesus is pleased when they help those who do not have much! Your child will also learn not just by your words but by your actions. If you consistently give to your church and are being a good witness for him your child is more likely to follow in your footsteps. Jesus said that those who give a cup of cold water in His name are doing it as unto HIM! Merry Christmas, Christ is BORN!!!

Hope you all have a great holiday season & happy giving:)