My wife and I always encourage our children to help others. We model the behavior by serving in our church, volunteering at the homeless shelter, or delivering meals to people who cannot leave their homes. We also like introduce them to other people who make service a priority.
One evening, we invited a missionary to our house to talk to the kids about her experiences in China. They were so excited because they had never met a real life missionary before. My five-year-old son, N, was beside himself with anticipation.
The missionary’s name is Christine and she works for Campus Crusade for Christ. As she shared this information with us, N, interrupted.
“May I ask you a question,” he asked.
“Of course,” she answered.
“Did you vote for Barack Obama?”
“No,” she replied with a surprised look on her face. “I voted for John McCain. Did you vote for Obama?”
He looked at her as if she were crazy and said, “Of course not. I’m too young to vote.”
We took a seat in the living room and Christine proceeded to tell the kids about her work. A few minutes into her talk, she pulled out a book to share some photographs. N interjected again.
“Is this the part where we give you money?”
Christine chuckled and continued with her presentation. N kept interrupting her with questions. It really bothered him that some of the pages in the album did not have photographs on them. N told Christine that she needed to fix that. Meanwhile my daughter, Nee, sat as quietly as a church mouse and only opened her mouth to ask Christine what her favorite color was.
When it was time to actually give her money, N, said, “Wait. I’ve got to get my piggy bank.” He ran upstairs and quickly returned. My wife, K, asked him if he wanted to give her a dollar. He said no.
“Two dollars,” she asked. Again he said, “No.”
“Three dollars?” He thought for a moment then replied. “Yeah that sounds about right.”
Christine felt a bit awkward about taking N’s money, but we assured her that he would have been extremely hurt if she refused. N has a heart full of love and wants to share all he has with everyone.
A few days later, we received two cards from Christine. The smaller card was address to K and me. It was a standard “thank you for contribution” card. The bigger card was for the boy. Christine wrote a treatise on how N’s generosity and curiosity touched her spirit and filled her heart with joy. When I read the part about how his donation bought a Bible for a Chinese child, N’s face beamed with pride.
What started out as a lesson on giving for the children, turned into a lesson in love for the adults.
Join the conversation: How do you teach your children to help others?
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