For Christians charity is the bare minimum. We are called to go beyond simple generosity: “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). We are taught that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) and that “not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs” (St John Chrysostom).
Only what you (and your family) already have!
So, we’re supposed to give freely? For many of us this isn’t an easy thing. We learn early on that if we give something away, we don’t have it any more. And then, those powerful words: “It’s not fair!”. This action explores how we might help young people to become cheerful givers.
In the early years:
Christmas and birthdays often involve lots of new toys. This can provide the opportunity to give something away. Create a culture of giving by helping younger children to choose one of their toys to give away. Together you could take it to a charity shop so your child sees where it’s going and actually physically ‘gives it away'.
As before, select a toy (or toys!) to give away, but now spend time thinking about which charity shop to donate to. This might involve looking at websites of the various charities and finding out about what they do. Even better, take the child to do research together, asking the volunteers/staff in the shop about what they do with the money raised. Pray for this charity and their work.
As they grow older:
Many children are given pocket money and/or a ‘budget’ for gifts they can choose at Christmas/birthdays. What if a percentage of this were to be donated to a charity? Together, as a family you could select a number of charities to research and then prayerfully discern which one you’ll donate to this term/year. By signing up to their email list you could receive updates about the work you’ve financially supported – and then continue to support them with prayer.