7. Model healthy personal choices between needs and wants.
I think we teach our children to value the need more than the want by first modeling it for them.
We cannot ask children to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. Children are smarter than that. Today’s generation is far more interested in truth and integrity than earlier generations. This generation despises hypocrisy.
If children see parents saying one thing and doing another, they will reject that as being truth. We need to model and teach our children the proper concepts concerning money. Ultimately teach them that we are to be responsible with what God has allowed us to have. (When we had to use our credit card for purchases, for example, we usually explained to them why and that we would be paying it off quickly.)
Children need to see their parents giving sacrificially of their time and resources. Volunteering at a soup kitchen may be a better activity for an upcoming special occasion than opening a bunch of gifts.
8. Keep children properly grounded in a material world.
Children need to know that the universe does not revolve around them. Our world as their parents may revolve around them, but the rest of the world thinks otherwise. Children need to have created times in their life where they have to wait for something they want. Teach and model for children a life that puts others’ needs and wants ahead of their own.
9. Don’t give children everything, even if you can afford it.
If children are encouraged by example to have a love of money—a love of stuff—chances are they will never have enough possessions in this world to be satisfied. (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10.)
Plant within them a love of God, a love of people and a love of life, and they will want to bless others—and the joy of their life will be much greater.
Regardless of how wealthy a family is, children should not be so “privileged” that there are no longer any items on their “want” list. When this happens, the child has a hard time developing a heart of giving, because they are often too consumed with acquiring more “stuff.”
We have to model simple living sometimes for our children. IT IS OK TO SAY NO TO YOUR CHILD! In fact, that may sometimes be the exact thing we need to say. Every trip to the mall should not produce a new toy! (OK, I know number nine hurts!)
10. Teach and model a love for God.
Above all else, perhaps the greatest thing a parent can do to help children be generous people is to help them desire the things of God more than the things of this world. God is a generous God. The more we know and love Him, the more generous we become.
Parenting is hard. And we all make mistakes. Here’s a prayer your way. Be intentional. We need great parents. We need generous people.