Let the Little Children...Give! Part 2

Let the Little Children...Give! Part 2


Let the Little Children…Give!   Part 2

                          The classic cardboard "Moonjar."

I admit it. I wasn’t the world’s greatest mother.
I let my kids eat the following: fish sticks (what, is this the 50s?), mac and cheese (the kind with the orange powder that’s not found in nature), and GoGurt (which I found out – because I failed to read the ingredients – is 98% pure sugar). For heaven’s sake, we had play dates at McDonalds. Oh, I’m sure they’ll have far more to reveal in their memoirs.
But here’s one thing I am proud of.
In some small way we, as in their dad and I, helped our kids become more generous.
It wasn’t easy, mind you. First, I had not been raised in a household that promoted generosity (hey, the unbiblical Hezekiah 3:8 “God helps those who helps themselves” reigned in my childhood home). Secondly, the messages our kids were getting from the culture did not promote philanthropy (they also watched Nickelodeon…my bad). In fact, what they were seeing on TV generally put them at the center of the universe. These were not the values we wanted to see instilled in our kids.

Then one day I came across an article in the New York Times that helped me help my children become more generous. The article mentioned how the children in one family saved money all year with the kids deciding which organizations to give to. Then, “Moonjars” were found. The Moonjar (which weirdly wasn’t a jar at all) was a three-piece interlocking cardboard box. The three mini boxes were labeled:
1. Save           2. Share          3. Spend.
All year our children would put money into the “Share” portion of their Moonjar (we suggested at least 10% of their allowance). At the same time, my husband and I were collecting change in our own jar (I admit it, Tom put the bulk of the money in there). At the end of the year, right after Christmas, the kids dumped out their “Share” boxes. We split the change Tom and I collected throughout the year between Luke and Rachel to bolster the gifts they were giving.
After they determined which charities they were going to support, we had them write the check to the agency (it made them feel pretty grown up) and write a letter telling the agency why they had been chosen (it was a boost to the receiving agency). If the organization was geographically close, we’d hand-delivered the check and letter.
I don’t know about Luke and Rachel, but this was one of my favorite activities as they were growing up. It helped me feel more generous too. I am hoping that in the future, when they have more funds to give that they will remember their Moonjars, the difference they made through their gifts, and fully embrace their beautiful, generous selves.
So what can the church to do replicate this?
1. Give out your congregation’s version of the “Moonjar” either in Sunday School or during a worship service. Make a big deal out of it.
2. At the end of the year, have children let the congregation know where their funds went (you might be the recipient…give them a reason to give to you). Recognize and celebrate their generosity.
3. Be sure to send a special thank you note to each kid who donates or tithes. It will mean something to that child. And, the child’s mom or dad will appreciate it too.
Developing generosity takes intention, especially as children get older.
Letting kids have a say as to where their money goes empowers them to take giving seriously. It lets them actively participate in seeing how their money makes a difference. And, it lets them get the good feeling of knowing that their generosity can change the world.
P.S. Remember last week’s blog? Vincent Law of PhilanthroKids sent me a graph that outlines their ten values and pairs them with scripture. Perfect for use in Sunday School or a children’s sermon. See it here.
P.P.S. Web support may be in your future! United Methodist Communications is offering “Website Development Grants.” Check it out now.
P.P.S. Let me know how your faith community or organization is helping kids to open their hearts to generosity. Shoot me an email at inspiringgeneorsity@gmail.com.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Tonight’s awesome meal? Why of course, Hamburger Helper. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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