How do you teach your children that it is better to give than receive?

First off, do you believe that?  If you don’t you won’t be able to teach your children as the best way to teach them is by example.  However, if you are a parent, you are spending most of your life, resources and waking hours giving of yourself to your children.  So how do you prepare them for giving of themself when they are older? 

I remember hearing that phrase right when I was about to be disappointed because I wasn’t going to get what I had asked for or wanted.  But teaching this lesson is so much more than just not giving to your children what they are asking for—it’s about having them experience the act of giving.  They need to experience making someone feel better as a direct result of their own effort.  A visible reality that will impact their life and help them appreciate what they have.

My parents did an excellent job of taking me on service projects, taking me to help clean up the church, taking meals to families, visiting people in the hospital, mowing widow’s lawns, donating money and many other things.  In fact, we even experienced times when we were in need when my father was in the hospital.  During that time we were recipients of many people’s giving.  It does humble you and I remember that those experiences seemed ‘harder’ to receive from others than to give of yourself.

There is always someone in need, and sometimes, it is someone we know but we are unaware because they are too embarrassed to reach out and we may not be as observant as we should. Giving should be more than just a passive act of sliding money into an envelope-you need to also participate in actually delivering the need.  We need to be more focused on 'seeking' out those in need.

I think back on my favorite movie (saw it again last night) ‘The Christmas Carol’ where George C. Scott plays Ebenezer Scrooge.  When he finally comes to his senses and realizes the spirit of Christmas, he provides the Cratchet family with a huge turkey, he becomes a father figure to Tiny Tim, he donates money to the poor and my favorite, is he goes to his nephews home and participates with family that he had ignored for so many years.   All specific acts that were done out of kindness and the spirit of giving and those acts continued for the rest of his life!