Teaching Children the Joy of Giving
The kids were buckled in my minivan and warm heat blew through the heat vents. A cold snap had hit Little Rock, but that hadn’t kept us from venturing out. My three young kids and I had a special mission. We’d just gotten through shopping for our boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Bella, Alyssa, and Casey worked so hard to make careful choices—a mix of fun things like cars and stuffed toys and useful things like pencils and erasers.
As I drove, I glanced in the rearview mirror at their red-cheeked faces, noticing their greatest gift hadn’t gone in the box. Instead, they carried the joy of giving deep in their hearts.
It was a gift they received as they gave.
And that warmed me even more than the heater vent.
“Mommy, where will our boxes go?” four-year-old Alyssa asked as we drove.
“I don’t know, sweetie. I’m not sure we get to pick. Where would you like them to go?”
“Africa!” she called out, and her brother and sister agreed.
“OK, well, you can pray about that. And maybe they WILL get sent to Africa.”
“No, Mommy!” Alyssa said in dismay. “I don’t want them to send the boxes. I want to get on an airplane and take it myself to the kids that don’t have shoes and toys, just like you did.”
I knew immediately what she was talking about. This summer I was blessed to go to Kenya with AWANA International. I love AWANA. All six of my kids have been in the program. My older kids ages 25, 22, and 20 look back on that time with good memories. And my little ones 7, 4, and 4 are now part. We have a Sparkie and two Cubbies in the house.
I love the Scripture memory and Biblical foundation AWANA lays in children’s hearts, and until I was invited to go to Kenya I had no idea they had AWANA clubs in 108 countries. In fact, 2.5 MILLION children take part in AWANA clubs around the world!
In Kenya, I loved spending time with the kids and seeing their faces glow as they shared scripture and songs with us. One pastor, and school principal, also asked us to pray for a special request. Would we pray that funds would be provided so they could put in a concrete slab at their school so their children wouldn’t have to work and play in the dirt and mud?
The ministry leaders and I looked at each other. We knew we could do more than pray. We knew we could help BE the answer. So we shared the need with our churches and friends.
The best way to teach children the joy of giving is to model it . . . and then to teach them to give as they are able.
Do you know of a special need that you believe God would like you to help meet? Here are some easy ways you can help your children learn the practical steps to caring for others’ needs.
- Take orders and bake Christmas cookies.
- Create a “donation box” out of craft paper and ask friends and family to contribute.
- Make a short video for Facebook (with the help of Mom and a smartphone) asking for donations for their cause.
- Write a letter, sharing the need, make photocopies and pass it out.
- Do extra chores to raise money to give.
Teaching Children the Joy of Giving
My children made a video to raise money for this cement pad in Kenya. Maybe your kids can do something similar!
As for those shoeboxes, my daughter was very happy to discover they WERE going to Africa! (Isn’t that a God thing?!) And she’s praying someday she’ll be able to go, too. Since she’s only four years old, she has a few years. But I’m sure God will provide!
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