Yesterday I began this series on how to raise generous children. Read yesterday’s post HERE. Today I continue those principles.
3. Provide needs. Bless with wants.
It is important that parents consider their system of meeting needs verses wants. Consider this question: Which gets more attention in your home? Does having the latest technology in a TV take a bigger role than teaching children to be good citizens and to generously love others? If so, that may not be the best plan for parenting. Sometimes we set children up for success or failure in life by how we treat them in this whole area of providing for their needs and their wants and by what we give the most attention.
4. Help children make wise choices with their own money.
One of the primary reasons children should have access to their own money is so they can learn the value of it. My children are always more careful spending “their” money than they are spending mine. Talk with them about how they should spend their allowance, birthday, or even money they have earned on their own. They ultimately should give some to God, save some, and spend some for things they need or want (based on the system you have for meeting these in your home.)
5. Consider the “big picture” of your child’s life.
As a parent, we are the primary molder of our children’s chooser of things in life.
Their desires in life will be greatly shaped by the life they live in our home. I heard a statistic recently that children today get 90% of everything they want in life. That doesn’t seem like the statistic for most of our adult want lists, does it? Somewhere children are going to face a stark reality crash as they reach adulthood. We have all heard the Hollywood stories of children of privilege who got everything they wanted in life, but who cannot seem to stay out of trouble as adults. They have no real sense of direction; no set of values to guide them, because they got everything they wanted in life, but nothing that they really needed!
6. Spend more time, energy and attention meeting needs than wants.
At Christmas time, birthdays, and other special occasions we ask children what they “want”. There is nothing wrong with that, but most of the time we already know what they need. We don’t have to ask them if they need to be honest people. We don’t have to ask them if they need to have character, love others or be generous. We do not need to ask them if they need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We know they need those things.
We need to ask ourselves if we are spending as much time and energy helping them get what they need as we are trying to buy them what they want. Providing wants is more fun sometimes, but we must be willing to sacrifice in order to give them what they need. It’s much more fun to give them wants, but it is much more valuable to give them needs.
I will share more principles in tomorrow’s post. Please feel free to add your own suggestions along the way or ask questions or comments as a comment to each post.