Teaching by Example

Girl_Lighting_a_CandleWhen her children were grade school age, Alexandra’s church asked Sunday School students to pledge a weekly stewardship amount. Each student was given a box of 52 envelopes for bringing their weekly offering to church.

Her career in finance helped her appreciate this structure. Together, each Saturday evening, Alexandra and her children would take the boxes of envelopes out of their cabinet and fill one for each child with the amount they committed for the week. 

An “aha” moment came after a vacation kept them away from their home church for a Sunday. The next week, their mother pulled out two envelopes for two contributions: one for the current week, and one for the week they were away. The children protested, “We weren’t there last week. We don’t have to pay!” Alexandra realized her children thought of the stewardship envelope as a sort of “entrance fee.” She used the moment to talk to them about the importance of making a stewardship commitment to God and then fulfilling that commitment through the gifts we are given throughout the year.

Any Christian discipline parents hope to instill in their children is best taught early, often, and with plenty of “teaching by example.” Stewardship is no different. A recent Cambridge University Study highlights that, for most children, spending habits are formed by age seven. Furthermore, the research emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning experiences with parents, beyond simply sharing information. (Whitebread, D., and Bingham, S., 2013, Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children).

Much is written about teaching children many aspects of the Christian life, but what about stewardship? We hope to return to this topic from time to time at EveryGoodandPerfectGift.org, and we invite you to share your stories about what has worked in your family or church community. Here are some ideas that have been shared with us by parents who have made teaching stewardship a priority in their families:

  • Before you enter a church, give each child their own money to make as an offering for candles, instead of having mom or dad put in the offering for everyone.
  • Talk to your children about your own giving, both stewardship and almsgiving, and let them see you in action.
  • If your children receive an allowance, help them to put part of it aside to bring to church as their own stewardship offering.
  • When your children receive gifts of money from family and friends, talk to them about giving part of it to those in need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation

Newsletter Powered By : XYZScripts.com