Giving is a JOY when we LOVE the person and community to whom we give. We need to train our hearts and minds and body towards this beautiful characteristic in our own lives and in our children’s lives. This is a lifelong learning process and we need to be consistent and cheerful in giving to make our community a better place. CHEERFUL giving is a joy to all, giver, receiver and above all God.
We live as a family in the city of Bangalore and I run a cafe in town. Hospitality is part of our life and we welcome many people into our lives and home. It is not always easy to show hospitality and share our time and resources with known and unknown people in our community. We try our best to love what we do with our time and resources. We teach our kids through our lives and show them how to love cheerful giving, the giver, receiver and God who lavishly gave us all things.
In our own selfish ways, even in the act of giving we tend to give for the sake of gaining benefits. It is very interesting how we react when our children as siblings don’t want to share their toys and fight with one another. When they don’t share chocolate cheerfully we ask them why it’s so difficult for them to share with their sister/brother!!! But how much more difficult do we as adults find it to share our resources with others! We find it easy to give to some people but difficult with others. Some things are easy to share or give and some things are not. I love to share my life with those who love me. 🙂 I find it difficult to love the person who is hurting me, I love some communities willingly over some other communities.
It is very important to ask the question WHY WE GIVE before we give and share our resources. I make sure that I ask my kids to always ask this question WHY WE GIVE to ——-? In the search for the answer to this question, we always expose our selfish hearts and desires. Teaching kids to give with love is very important. Loving the person who you give to, loving the community where you share your life is as important as the act of giving itself.
These are few practical things we do as a family to teach them how to use their money wisely. When we give pocket money to our kids we teach them to save money in 3 ways
1) Long term saving
We teach them to save money or resources for a long term plan like buying a school bag for next year or set of books, a pet etc. Sometimes we save up money for our family holiday.
2) Short term saving
We teach them to save money for sweets/clothes/going for a movie or buying gifts for their friends.
3) Need based saving
We teach them to save money, time and resources to share for giving to those who help others. We help them to select some charities, which help children with education and providing a safe place for the needy in our community. Sometimes they collect their used good clothes, toys and books and money for others who need them.
We intentionally focus our time to train our family to love the community in which we are growing as a family. Kids watch us and they learn from our words and actions. Giving goes beyond money for us and we also teach our children to give back to the community they live in.
These are few practical things we do as a family to teach them to give back to the community. We teach them to:
- Have an open home
Now in urban life, it is so difficult connect with neighbors. Everybody is so busy in their own lives. Many homes are closed and not a welcoming place. We as a family love to connect with neighbors and we do spent a lot of our evening time playing and interacting with neighbors. I do ask my kids to share their toys, food and share the space they have. We love playing chess and UNO with friends. We love to open our home as a safe place where children can come and share their joys and sorrows.
- Have a responsible home
We teach them the value of health and cleanliness of the community. We love recycling!!! We recycle our clothes among friends and relatives and needy in our community. Our home in Bangalore has a vermi-composting unit, we turn our kitchen and paper waste into fertile soil with the help of earthworms and we also have a plastic waste management system. We use plastic bottles to grow vegetables.
We teach our children to value and care for our world. We teach them how to save money, water and electricity. We teach our kids to love animals and birds around them. We love art and we make a lot of recycled crafts activities from cardboard and newspaper.
We teach them to grow as responsible citizens of this nation, giving to and loving the community. If each home learned to be responsible, our nation will be a better and beautiful place for this generation and the generation to come.
- Engage in the community
We encourage our children to be part of the community where kids take part in recreational activities together. We encourage them to watch movies, play badminton, swim etc. with the neighbours. In all these activities we also get opportunities to make new friends, to love and share our life. We loveto celebrate birthdays, weddings and other festivals with our neighbours.
We also provide our kids with opportunities to serve outside the home, volunteer with an NGO who is working in our community. They love to volunteer and help.
Teaching children to give is beautiful. Teaching them why we give is even more important.
Giving cheerfully is very important and let us make our nation a better place as each family learns to love the community in which they live. Giving is truly a blessing.