Raising Generous Children

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Much like other habits (smoking, snapping our bubblegum, eating at McDonalds,etc) generosity is a habit learned when parents pass it down to their children. I have observed this all around me in community.

Last spring I attended a women’s writing conference in Nebraska and met Jennifer Dukes Lee. Jennifer is a storyteller, a wife, and raiser of generous daughters. Their family has been connected to ministry and missions in Haiti for several years now, and her girls have grown to know the names of the people there as if they are a part of their own family.

She saw her next generation begin to sprout generosity as she recounts in her blog in October of 2012

” It started in 2010, just after Haiti shook hard after the earthquake — so hard that thousands perished, thousands more were driven to tent cities and the whole world groaned for its lost children.

Here, on an Iowa farm, one small girl groaned with the world. I remember the night she trickled out her first prayer for Haiti, praying that God might do something, anything, to make it better.

“Mom,” my Lydia recalled this morning,  2 1/2 years later, “before that night, I never even knew that Haiti existed.””

She goes on…

“Huddled under those covers night after night, we always knew that God really could do a miracle for the people of Haiti. And we were certain that He would. We still believe God is doing just that: We believe that God is redeeming all things, reconciling a groaning world. And we believe that He has a patterned history of using ordinary, common people to carry out His work. People like Lydia Lee.  She writes to you today: 

“Dear friend,

Ever since the earthquake occurred in Haiti in the year of 2010,  I’ve wanted to help Haiti.  I’ve prayed, donated money, and even held a tea party fundraiser at my church, which raised more than $600. The money was used to buy a generator in a rural Haiti church, so they could have lights during their church services. But this will be my biggest fundraiser yet. I would like to raise more than $5,000 to build a playground for children in Haiti.””

And you know what… she did! Using a ViBella fundraiser she raised more than what she needed to, building a playground AND inspiring her younger sister to sponsor a fundraiser for MORE playground equipment!

Each year at Thanksgiving their family flies to Haiti to share in the blessings of the work that they are sponsoring there, reinforcing the message that what they do matters. It makes a huge difference in the lives of the people they pray for at bedtime. It changes the world for real people who live in real houses that melt into the mud as the rains come down. (See their latest generosity mission here.)

So what can YOU do? Here are 6 steps to start generosity in your family:

  1. Pray. Pray out loud with your family about who you should reach and how you can help them.
  2. Listen with your eyes. Our ears can be inundated with thousands of needs every day. Chances are you will be called to help someway near you, something you can see.  We CAN have “here, near, and far away” goals to support.… but start off close to you, so you (and your family) can SEE the impact you are having. Maybe it’s raking a neighbor’s yard, or helping carry in groceries!
  3. Ask what is needed, but do what you can, and start small! It will help you to not get discouraged.
  4. Listen. Is what you’re doing accomplishing what you had started off to do? Is it more, less, or a blessing anyways?
  5. Do more! Choose another group/person to give to, or give more to the group you’ve started with. (WARNING: Giving can be contagious!)
  6. Give where you are.  Givingtons.com is great because it’s effortless giving. We are going to shop. Let it make a difference.

I hope as we kick off the New Year, you and yours will enjoy the benefits of generous living!


About the Author

marinaskitchen-1383805433_140  Marina Bromley describes herself as bond-servant of Jesus. wife2Mark. Global Worker Care. blogger, writer, a DaySpring (in)courager. photographer @MeetMeInTheMeadow. hand quilter. knee warrior.  She resides in Henderson, KY, USA .  Check out her blog: marinaskitchentable.blogspot.com

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