When my toddler sees the collection basket and my husband taking out his envelope, she turns to me and says, “Money, money!” The cue that I am supposed to hand her a dollar, which she may or may not let go of and actually leave in the basket.
Tithing a word that can cause us to be uncomfortable. Perhaps stirring in our seats a bit when we hear stewardship talked about at Church or turning the dial when we hear Catholic radio make an appeal. Although, it may be something we grapple with stewardship is a way of living and an important lesson of discipleship to impart to our children.
Part of being a good steward is first recognizing that everything comes from God, it all is a gift. Our time, money and talent. When we take this truth to heart it becomes easier for us to give, because what we have been given was never ours to start with. Modeling this attitude to our children helps instill in them a mindset of stewardship. Whether it is their athleticism, their musical ability, how they spend their time, or money earned.
As parents, we know that we lead by example, our words, our actions, what we do, and what we don’t do. It is here in the domestic church that we pass on these important lessons. Let your children see you give or hear conversations with your spouse about where you are tithing money for the month. Not in a prideful manner, but it is important for them to know that you are giving. On the same hand, make them aware of how God is blessing your family. Whether it is a financial blessing or a gift in some other form, praise God openly for his faithfulness, for he can never be outdone in generosity!
For the Lord is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold. Sirach 35:13
Ask your children to tithe a part of their money; it may be an allowance, money earned, or money gifted. Encourage them to give a small percent of it back to God. Allow them to choose where they would like to donate it to, perhaps Church, a mission for the poor, a homeless shelter, a pregnancy center, or a family in need. Ask your children to donate some of their toys, have them help buy items from the giving tree at Christmas or assist them in setting up a lemonade stand and donating the money raised.
Incorporate a family service project during Advent and Lent. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, caroling at a nursing home, delivering cookies to your neighbors with a Christmas card, making rosaries for the missions, or writing letters to the elderly or homebound. As a family sponsor a child in need. Put their picture in a prominent place in your house and include them in your prayers. Have your children take an active role, writing letters, coloring pictures, and sending a little of their own money.
Remind your children that their talents are to be used for the greater glory of God. Include a simple prayer on the way to practice, games, school, or a performance thanking God for the abilities they are gifted with and that God will be praised through them. Help them discover the talents God has blessed them with and remind them that each is a unique way to shine Christ’s love to the world.
This week is the Relevant Radio pledge drive, what a great opportunity to talk about stewardship with your children. Together as a family, can you reach out and respond? Today your gift will be matched 100%!