Can You Inherit Generosity?

Can You Inherit Generosity?
Note: Hi friends! I am on vacation for a couple of weeks. I’ve asked a couple of my friends to write the “Inspiring Generosity” blog in my place while I’m gone. Today, Rev. Karen Hernandez talks about how she inherited the “generosity gene” and how important it is to pass it along.
 -  Cesie

My dad, Sam,and my grandparents, George & Christine Puckett ('87)

In just the last few years, I’ve begun to recognize the tremendous blessings of inherited generosity.  My paternal grandfather was so tenderhearted and generous that it likely hampered his efforts as a small town business owner. He didn’t achieve tremendous financial success, but he was a saint of a man who was – and still is – beloved by his community. I moved away nearly 20 years ago, but every visit home still includes someone asking, “You’re Mr. Puckett’s granddaughter, right? Which of those Puckett boys is your dad?”
Dad worked for that family business from age 13 until he retired. He inherited many of my grandfather’s admirable traits, including generosity. Both of my parents are generous with their financial blessings, their time, and their gifts. As retirement has given them more time, they just give more of that.

Dad has always kept his change in a jar. As children, every Sunday morning before church my sister Julie and I would go into our parents’ bedroom to receive our allowance. We would wait with outstretched hands while Dad shook the jar to find enough quarters. He’d put one quarter in each hand saying, “This one is for you, and this one is for church.” Dad took a 42-year break from attending church, but every Sunday morning of my childhood he gave me a coin to save in my piggy bank and another to give away. 

When I got my first paycheck in a salaried job, I put a check for 10% of it in the offering plate the following Sunday because that’s what we do—we Pucketts…but also we as people of faith. Like the quarters placed in my 5-year-old hands, part of that money was for me and part of it was to give away immediately.  Only recently have I begun to appreciate the tremendous value of these early life lessons.
I can now understand that giving this way must seem strange to those who were taught to relate differently to money, but this is my experience. I appreciate the tradition of generosity that my family passes down by what I assume to be both nature and nurture.
As I think about it, generosity has been in my genes for generations.
These memories of receiving allowance and being taught to give now point out other things to me, too.  First, I was born into privilege, which I surely take for granted. I’m grateful this privilege was always paired with responsibility: From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” (Luke 12:48b).  My husband and I stretch ourselves to increase our proportional giving each year. 
Second, those early lessons are so important!  I don’t have children of my own, but I’ve got some fantastic young disciples in my church and neighborhood who are watching and listening far beyond the credit I give them.  I periodically need to stop and reconsider how my words, actions, and lifestyle are speaking to the little ones around me.  After all, I have a tradition—a family tradition and a faith tradition—to pass along. 
Rev. Karen Hernandez is an ordained elder serving Kuna United Methodist Church in Kuna, Idaho. Karen traces her inherited generosity back to her family, many of whom remain in the Gadsden, Alabama area.  From there, the wholesaler Puckett & Co., Inc. served northeast Alabama for three generations.  And, yes, growing up in a family with a candy wholesale company is kind of like growing up in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! 
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. 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.