Have you ever attended a child’s birthday party and watched the birthday child open presents in front of everyone? If you have, you probably noticed that what was supposed to be a nice gesture celebrating a birthday, quickly turns into a comparison contest. The guest of honor and all of his or her friends begin exclaiming over expensive gifts while basically ignoring presents that don’t compare favorably. You can almost see envy creep into the hearts of many of the children as they begin thinking about the various gifts they want or wish they had given.
My favorite part of Christmas is that our daughter has a lengthy break from college. It allows us to spend some quality time together. This year instead of spending all of that free time with your kids in separate rooms doing different things or stuck with your total attention on devices, make a difference.
How you make a difference is totally up to your family’s creativity, energy and resources. Try to involve your kids in the planning and preparing of the projects you decide to do. Bringing them in at the end for delivery is not nearly as meaningful.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
What does your child absolutely love to talk about when he or she has the chance? Do your kids have a hobby that they participate in every free minute? Do they ask for supplies for an interest for every gift giving occasion? Chances are these are your child’s passions.
Now if you have had a child for very long, you have learned childhood is often about rapidly shifting interests and passions. Actually, that’s great because it is allowing your kids to experiment with lots of different possible gifts from God. Often, it’s not until they actually try something that they may find they have a talent for it.
Have you ever thought about how many problems are caused because people never learned how to share well? Sounds silly, but think about it for a minute. An unwillingness to share easily is often a prime indicator of a selfish heart. And we all know selfishness is the root of many sins.
Not to mention sibling fights, friendship spats and other problems caused by children who don’t know how to share well. As with any character trait, it’s easier to help your child make a character trait God wants them to have a part of their identity if you start when they are young.
There are really quite a few simple and even fun things you can do to encourage even very young children to make sharing a part of who they are – not a rule they are struggling to obey.
It doesn’t take long for kids to understand the concept that money can get them things they want. If Grandpa gives them a couple of dollars, they will usually start begging to head to the dollar store to purchase some new “treasure”.
Unfortunately, kids aren’t born knowing how to be good stewards of the money God gives them. They are usually generous at a young age, but if parents don’t work with them – generosity can quickly turn to greed. If you don’t teach them how to handle money in godly ways, they won’t necessarily learn it by just watching you.
Handling money well is complex even in a secular environment. When you add God’s expectations for helping others and the church with our funds, it can become even more intricate. If you don’t teach your kids from a young age how to budget their money, they may struggle financially for many years. Check the average credit card debt in our country and you can see how bad the problem can get.