What I Want My Children to Know About...Being Generous

November 28, 2013

This past month has been a busy one for our family. Between school, activities, birthdays and gatherings, I’ve had little time to sit and catch up on current world events. I had heard about the typhoon that had hit the Philippines, but with everything else, it just stayed on the periphery of my life, not really registering as I carried on my daily duties.
Praying over our gift.

And then this past week I got a letter from World Vision, an organization that -- among many things -- sends aid to areas of the world affected by disaster. I had a few minutes before my daughter got off the bus so I sat down, seeing the letter was about the devastation that had hit the Philippines. Determined to be intentional and to stop, to finally take the time to know what had happened.

What I read was shocking. Thousands thought dead. The worst storm on record. Hundreds of thousands of people and families displaced. The greatest needs being food, water, shelter -- basic necessities that I rarely give a second thought. As the shock began to wear off, I realized how long I had waited before really taking the time to sit and take it all in. Kyle got home and I told him about what had happened. We agreed we needed to do something. We would talk with the children at supper that night, determined to always share our concern for others with our kids, not wanting to scare them, but always wanting them to know and be a part of our giving to others.

After supper I told the children we had something to discuss as a family: A really bad storm had hit another part of the world. We began to explain where the Philippines were, what had happened, how people needed help.

And then we asked them, “What should we do?”

All three agreed that we should give. But what? We decided that we would provide emergency shelter for one family. Could we help everyone impacted? No, but we could do our part, however small it might be.

As Kyle placed our donation in the middle of the table, each of us extended a hand to pray over our gift. We started with Kyle and went around the circle. We prayed for the specific family’s protection, encouragement, and blessing. My children prayed for healing, food to be available, and clean water. So simple. And yet so profound.

And as I was the last in line to pray, I couldn’t help but look at these hands all together on the table. Little fingers extended, believing God would use our small gift and take care of others in need. I thought about the family this money would bless. And as I prayed, I began to cry. Because in my mind’s eye I could picture this family. Not so different from ours. And how would I feel if I were in their situation? As I sheepishly closed in prayer, surprised by my own display of emotion, I looked up and caught my husband’s eyes, filled with tears. He knew.

And my children sat quiet, just for a moment. Pondering what we’d just done. I have realized that my children care deeply, and if given the opportunity, they will be some of the most compassionate and giving people I know. No cynicism or judgment about what others may do with their gift. They believe they are giving it to God to bless others.

And I know that in a harsh world there are people and things that will take advantage, who will use and abuse us if we let them, but I still choose to love. To give.

We’ve told our children we will always error on the side of giving and not holding back. No strings attached.

That we can be wise in our giving, yes, but that we are blessed to have the things we do and we will not hold so tightly to them that we can’t let them go.

I want my children to know that we are not any more special because we live in America. Or because we have more than others do around the world. That we could just as easily be in the position of losing everything or needing help.

We are all vulnerable.

We are all equal.

And when we see needs, we want to meet them.

I want my kids to give. Extravagantly. To not just feel bad about things they see or hear about, but be moved to take action to do something. To give. To love.

“True compassion is not just an emotion. True compassion compels us to cross the street, and go and help.” –Christine Caine

1 comment

  1. Yes! I love this! You are such a great mom Kendra, keep up the good work! Reminds me of the quote I came across tonight I so loved, "God prospers me NOT to raise my standard of living but to raise my standard of GIVING. Randy Alcorn."