Passionate About Iowa City
and the Moms Who Live Here.

Teaching Generosity.

ChristhianOur family recently decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International.  While my husband was at a concert, he picked up a packet for a little 4 year-old boy from Bolivia named Christhian. Isn’t he adorable?

The next day I showed our oldest daughter, who is also 4, the picture of the little boy and explained to her where he lives and that his family doesn’t have much money.  I explained to her that we are sending some money to help him be able to go to school, do art activities, go on field trips, and have a better life.  She thought that was a great idea and decided to make a picture for Christhian.  She colored the picture, cut it out, folded it up, and put it in the envelope with the other things we were going to send him.  Then we both went about doing other things.  A couple hours later she came up to me and asked me for an envelope.  I asked her what she needed it for and she held out her hands.  Both of her hands were full of coins.  She told me she had gone up to her piggy bank and taken out money to send to Christhian so that he can go to pre-school like she does.  All on her own. My heart melted.  We found a special jar to keep her coins in for Christhian, and every day she has been adding more, her eyes full of excitement to be able to help a little boy that she has never met have a better life.

coins for christhian

Seeing her do this really got me thinking.  We often hear about the importance of teaching our children about money and how to handle it responsibly. Of course we should teach our children the value of savings, and how to spend responsibly. And it is important that they learn the value of a dollar. But what about the value of giving it away to others who are in need? More importantly, what can our children teach US about having a generous heart? My daughter has been saving her money for a long time, anticipating being able to buy something great at Target. But she didn’t give a second thought to putting a majority of what she had worked so hard to save in that jar so that another child could have a chance to have a better life. Even more, she did it JOYFULLY!!  What started out as me intending to teach my daughter generosity ended up with her teaching me so much more. Oh, how I aspire to have a generous heart like my sweet daughter’s, and I hope to foster and encourage that in her as she grows up.

How do you and your family encourage one another to give generously to others? It could be giving your money, your time, or your talents. Maybe it’s in your neighborhood, somewhere in our local community, or across the world.  We’d love to hear your ideas…please share!

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4 Responses to Teaching Generosity.

  1. farida May 9, 2013 at 7:26 am #

    My eyes filled with tears , such a nice girl 🙂 god bless her

  2. Alycia Karsjens May 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Loved this–how neat!

  3. Debbie Splean May 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh, goodness! This makes a great Mother’s Day read! You got my tears flowing too.

    One instance I vividly remember many years ago ( our daughter’s about to turn 21, and this was when she was 5) I had been the head fundraiser/PR person in our church for what was probably our first Habitat for Humanity build. My children both knew how certain dollar donations could buy specific materials for the home, and they knew that the future home owners were people who would not otherwise be able to afford a home if it weren’t for everyone pitching in to help make it a reality. But what no one expected was the lesson we learned on the day all the homes were dedicated in a ceremony just before Christmas.

    You see, we lived in St. Louis at the time in a rather homogenized white middle-class suburban neighborhood. So you can imagine my shock when we had just taken our seats in the church downtown next to the build site, ready for that dedication ceremony to start, and a little black girl (all dressed up in her Christmas finest) came running down the aisle gleefully calling our 5-yr. old daughter’s name and swooped her out of our pew! My daughter , of course, screamed out the other girl’s name, and faster than I could make sense out of anything, the two were dancing around holding hands and doing the best “meet ant greet” I’d ever seen in the blink of an eye. I don’t even recall her making it back to our pew right away.

    The dedication was getting underway, I was still wondering what the odds were of my 5-yr. old running into someone she knew at an event some 20 miles away from our home , and then the kicker: As the three different families went up on the chancel area to receive the keys to their new home they had helped build with us, there also went my daughter’s friend to stand so proudly next to her family! My mind was blown. No, it wasn’t the family of the home our church had helped build, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that in the blink of an eye, all that prep and fundraising work my children HAD been able to observe each Sunday in our church had become that huge “Ah-ha” moment when it all made sense, because, as I leaned over to ask my daughter how she knew this family, she replied, “She’s a city kid in my Kindergarten class!”

    As a follow-up to that “Ah-ha” moment, those two little girls grew a bit closer for the remainder of the year…. My daughter came home from school the following week so happy to tell us how this friend was enjoying her own bedroom now, and it was such fun to put all her things into her own bedroom…something my daughter probably had taken for granted…until then.

    To this day we still recognize each of our children’s Christmases with a specially chosen gift through World Vision’s catalog. My daughter grew to love playing the piano. We give the gift of musical instruments to schools around the world that cannot offer music training. Our son grew up gifted in working with computers. We give the gift of technology to schools around the world.

    Yes, your children may still go through those self-centered teen years, and you will probably think you’ve lost the battle in raising a thoughtful child, but that too comes to an end, and when you reach the other side, you realize the things you teach them when they are young, really do have the biggest impact on them!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Lianna
    Lianna May 11, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    What a sweet heart! Good job raising your kids to be compassionate and generous, Kaitlyn! Such a sweet story.

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