Let the Children...Give! Part 1

Let the Little Children…Give!  Part 1

                                       Jorge Barahona, Upsplash

I love my readers. You’re always coming up with great ideas for this blog. Take for instance, Rev. Todd Bartlett (OR-ID Camp and Retreat Ministries) who just last week forwarded along the excellent article, “Empowering Young Children through Philanthropy.” I suddenly realized that in all the years of writing this blog, I have never (ever) covered the important topic of encouraging and cultivating generosity in kids (ages 3-12). Readers – children included – forgive my shortsightedness…you’ll no longer be overlooked.
Most of us know that kids are naturally inclined to be generous. They bring us beautiful dandelions, they want to bake cookies and share them (after “testing” one or two for quality assurance), they’re unafraid to smile or wave at strangers. Jesus knew that he wanted the “little children to come unto Him” for good reason – they’re so much nicer than old fogey adults. So kids can be generous, but how can we encourage their sweet spirits to grow as they get older?

Besides family, faith communities and schools have the best opportunity to make an impact to encourage a generous life-force within kids. In the aforementioned article, Vincent Law’s organization – PhilanthroKids Academy – stresses the “Ten Principal Values of Philanthropy”:
-  Kindness
-  Honesty
-  Respect
-  Openness,
-  Generosity
-  Gratitude
-  Sympathy
-  Empathy
-  Responsibility
-  Trustworthiness

Law says, “Of course there are many important life values but these values are essential to philanthropy and transcend across different cultures, races and faiths.”
Through international folk tales and real-life stories, PhilathroKids teaches the ten values. Here’s the cool thing: they’ve come up with 100 practical things a child can do to practice each philanthropic value within their family, school, or community. That’s 1,000 things a kid can do to practice philanthropy and develop a more generous spirit. And, for some of you this will sound very familiar, they encourage “3T Giving” – “Time, Talent, and Treasure.”
What if your Sunday School program or children’s sermons focused on these ten philanthropic principles – one per week? How about helping kids define the value through Biblical stories and stories of saints, past and present? What if you helped your kids come up with three practical things they could do the following week to live out that particular value? Who wants to bet that children would love this?
Some of you, I’m sure, are already engaging your kids through these kinds of exercises. Let me know how your faith community or organization is helping kids to open their hearts to generosity. I’ll report back here in two weeks. 
Next week, I’ll write about how one family encouraged generosity in their children. Until then, I’ve got some cookies that need a little quality assurance check. Mmmmm, cookies. Mmmmm…two cookies with ice cream in between. Stay cool. Stay generous.
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. Let’s see. Should she put Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch in between snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies? 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.