how to teach kids about tithing

teaching kids about tithingIf someone walked up to us and said, “Give me 10% of everything you have,” we’d probably either laugh or call the cops if they were armed.

Yet, the Christian tradition of tithing is exactly what this can feel like.

For kids, they especially don’t like it when someone tells them to give something up or let someone else have it.

But tithing is a habit. Just like brushing our teeth. If we get used to it being a “non-choice”, then we see why God has instructed us so clearly in giving back to Him just a small portion of what we has given to us.

Kids really have to see things sometimes to believe it. Teaching kids about tithing isn’t as difficult as it seems when we put it in physical forms they can see and touch. 

Here are 5 ways to show our kids what 10% really looks like:

1. 10 one dollar bills. Cold hard cash. Let them decide which charity the one goes.

2. Cut a pizza cut into 10 slices. Place 1 on a plate. Wait until they ask, “Who’s that for?” Well, funny you should ask…..

3. Gather 168 pennies. one for each hour of the week. Take out 16 of those. This is a good illustration of how much of our time should be given back to God in one capacity or another.

4. Bake 1o biscuits. Show them that God only wants one of those fluffy, little tidbits.

5. Get 1o flowers for the house. 9 of one color and 1 of another. Arrange them together and put the single color in the middle. That single flower stands out! Our giving to God should stand out in our hears as well.

These are just a few exercises in showing your children the principle of tithing. It’s a concept. It’s a habit. It’s really a way of viewing life, as a good steward of everything God has given us from time, to talent and treasure.

What have you done with your kids to encourage tithing?

Would you let your kids help you decide where and to whom family tithing money will be given?

How can we creatively illustrate to our children the habit/concept of tithing?

 

 

the power of showing unexpected grace to our kids

grace to our kidsRules are rules.

We’ve always been told how important consistency is in mothering. After all, let down the rules even a little and our kids smell weakness.

We’ve surely demolished all credibility and authority, right?

Unless we don’t. Unless now and then loosening up and showing grace in an area or situation is actually exactly what our child needs — more than our consistency and unbending rules.

When we seek God in our parenting, and we’re wise enough to follow His leading, He shows us those moments where grace and love should rule. 

I wish I could say I always do that. Often, I fail. But when we do follow His leading, we give our kids a glimpse of the grace and love God gives to us — even though we are unworthy and undeserving.

This has been a difficult week at our house. One of these weeks where you cringe when the phone rings because you just know it’s just another crisis — either big or small. 

My daughter, for a variety of reasons, has probably had the most stressful week of all of us. She has had one pressure-filled situation and crisis after another.

And it’s Homecoming Week of her Senior Year. A week she loves and looks forward to every year.

One of the things she loves the most is all the dress up days throughout the week — especially Character Day. 

But this week, because of all the craziness, she didn’t have time to find a costume until the last minute (one she borrowed from a friend the night before).

When she tried it on that morning, it didn’t fit right. There was no way she could wear it to school.

Given all the stress of the week, this was the breaking point. The moment she could handle no more.

She shut down for a while, unable to decide what to do. She was still in turmoil in her room 10 minutes before school was starting.

This is the point where I’d usually tell her to just do what she had to do to get out the door. I’d lecture (or yell) about the irresponsibility of being late. I’d impose a consequence.

But this time? This time she needed something different. This time she needed a mom who was willing to pull out some of her old Halloween costumes and try to help her find an alternate plan. One who added a little humor to the situation and kept calm.

After a few false starts, together, we found a way to quickly alter the costume she’d borrowed into something that worked and she felt cute in (very important). Which didn’t happen until about 20 minutes after the school bell rang.

But at that moment, it wasn’t about the costume. It wasn’t about being late. It was about a child who needed grace. Who needed to feel loved and understood during a really awful week.

It was what she — and our relationship — required more than rules.

When we show that kind of grace to our children, it inspires them to show it to others.

Because grace is often most powerful — and appreciated — when it shows up in unexpected places.

 

Where can you give your child some unexpected grace today? Ask God to open your eyes to where they need it?

Melinda Means

kids and faith

teaching kids to love their enemies

teaching kids to love their enemiesWhen Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, he wasn’t beating around the bush. He was serious. (Matthew 5:44)

When He spoke of love, it wasn’t passive. He wants us to act. Later in Matthew 5, He goes so far as to tell us we get no reward from loving those who already love us. (5:46)

Who are your child’s enemies?

  • The sibling who steals the toys.
  • The friend who didn’t sit next to them at school today.
  • The “unfair” teacher who gave too much homework

Ask them to identify them, if they’re able.

How can they love them?

  • Give them a toy before they try and steal the one they’re playing with.
  • Make a point of telling that person that they missed sitting with them.
  • Turn in all of the unreasonable homework, done well and with a smile.

Ouch.

Praying for them is one thing. But show them an act of love? For a child, heck, for an ADULT, this is one commandment that’s hard to swallow.

When we are wronged, we have to submit our natural urge to seek retaliation. Revenge isn’t sweet. It’s demeaning to the spirit of love that God has placed in our hearts.

Jesus makes a very bold statement. Some would say he was making a crazy statement.

Here’s where we have an opportunity. Jesus was always bold. Jesus was always controversial. Indeed, He was seen as crazy.

Crazy enough to be killed on a cross for what He proclaimed.

Loving our enemies is hard. Hard work is always rewarded, either intrinsically or extrinsically. Helping our kids learn this lesson early in life will help them in proclaiming their faith in the craziest way possible….

…through actually loving those who wrong us.

How have you taught your kids to love their enemies?

When has it been difficult in your own life to model this faith concept?

 

teaching faith: getting kids involved in church

getting kids involved in churchOur goal today is to find a non-Sunday church activity for our family. We are going to tackle getting kids involved in church!

Don’t panic! It’s not that hard. I promise. 

Going to church on Sundays is vital.  However, participating in an activity outside of Sunday can allow our faith come alive for our kids in a very, very bold way. Getting children involved in church is key — and it’s not as hard as we think. They are naturally “faith in action” types that just need small (or big!) opportunities.

Sure, we can look through the church bulletin. Most are available online if you’re one of those folks (ahem…) who tends to lose theirs from the back door of the church to home. And there we will find many opportunities that kids can participate in non-Sunday activities.

Children’s ministries, youth groups and service projects are the typical places that our church welcomes kids to fully engage their membership in the Body of Christ.

But, let’s get creative here, shall we?

Do they have a heart for the poor? Let’s bring them to our local thrift shop and help them pick out 5 winter coats to donate to a homeless shelter. They get to broaden their little worlds just by a 10 minute errand.

Do they have a heart for a larger world-wide impact? Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful way to show kids how simple, everyday objects that they perhaps take for granted are desperately needed by children all over the world.

Are they shy and don’t really want to be noticed — but still want to do SOMETHING? Find an activity that gives to another one.

For example, Project Linus is a charity that most kids can relate to very well. What kid doesn’t love their blanket? Or those who are older, they all still have fond memories of having them growing up. If you are particularly gifted in the arts and crafts area (that blessing skipped me unfortunately), sewing blankets together would be an incredible way to bless other kids without ever having to be in a large group.

I found this EASY pattern for making blankets that I am considering (pray for me) doing with my kids. There is no sewing involved and depending on the age of your child, you could allow them to do the whole shebang or just let them finish it up.

Last but not least — call your church! Tell them that you are looking for something your family can do either together or separately. They will know where your talents could best be used. Let them know how much time commitment you have. Some activities or events are a one time event, while others happen on regular intervals.

What do we do if they simply don’t care enough at this stage in their life?

This is a good time to set an example and offer them a part in participating. If they see us making Thanksgiving baskets for needy folks at home, for example, they see that it’s not as big of a sacrifice as they might think. Let them do something little, even if it’s just helping you load and unload the car with them.

Ask God to reveal opportunities to us regarding participating in an activity outside of church. He will honor the desires of our hearts. Let’s also pray with our children about this as well. Adults aren’t the only ones open for discernment. We might be surprised by how God uses their willing hearts.

What activities does your family participate in outside of Sunday church?

How have you encouraged your kids to step outside of Sunday church and do something challenging?

When have you seen your children’s world view expand as a result?