Tuesday

Teach Kids that it is Better to Give than to Receive

Each November and sometimes before, kids of all ages begin forming their Christmas wish lists. By the time December first rolls around, the list has grown huge. Grown ups aren’t much better. Our lists aren’t as long, but our gift wishes are more expensive! A second mortgage may be in order just to afford everything our kids want. And so begins the spending, shouting, running, pushing, shoving, and snatching that accompany frenzied holiday shopping. How did this happen? Our kids didn’t just wake up one morning with their hands held out and greed in their hearts. “I want! I want!” is a learned behavior. We have lost sight that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Where It All Begins
As a child, we are not born with knowledge of our actions. All behavior must be learned. Our first teachers are our parents and guardians. Kids imitate what they see. It is up to us as Christian parents to teach our children to follow the ways of God. That includes teaching them about giving and receiving. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but if we don’t concern ourselves with giving, how can we expect our children to act any different?

An Unselfish Gift
The story of the birth of Jesus is a shining example of selfless giving. God allowed His only Son to be born, knowing that he would live and die for a world that had turned its back on Him time and time again. God offered His gift of love with no strings attached. We still have the free will to accept or reject His gift.

Actions Speak Where Words Fail
Get kids involved in their communities. Help them see that there are families who don’t have a home or enough food to eat. Several times a year and especially during the Christmas holiday season, help them to go through their closets and gather together clothing and coats that no longer fit. Kids should come along with you when dropping off the clothes at Goodwill or another agency of your choice. Toys in good condition that aren’t played with anymore can be donated too.

Soup kitchens provide hot meals for the hungry all year round. Take your kids and let them help prepare and serve. Even at five years of age they can help you serve. Tell them that Jesus did the same thing for multitudes of people.

Supermarkets and department stores hang paper Christmas trees with the names of children who need gifts for Christmas. Your children will want to choose a tree and help another child like themselves to have a happy Christmas morning. Through your actions, your children will learn that giving unselfishly to another person feels good and benefits everyone. Their Christmas lists may just get a little bit shorter and their hearts will definitely get a whole lot bigger.

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