Cultivating the Generosity of Children
Posted on February 4, 2013
Chalupa is a generous guy. I can’t count the number of times I have planned to sell some piece of furniture on Craigslist only to find out that he has already located someone in need of the item and promised to give it to them for free. He often wants to give away money we don’t really have, and he is big into tithing and donating on a regular basis.
I don’t think I’m stingy, but generosity doesn’t come as freely to me as it does to him.
I hope that Ruthie takes after him in this way, and I think she might. Right after her third birthday, I asked her to pick a few stuffed animals to give away to kids who don’t have as many toys as she does. I’ve suggested this sort of thing before to her, and she has been very resistant. The other day, though, she jumped at the chance.
Instead of just picking a few toys, she asked me to please help her go through all of her stuffed animals, toys, and books. I told her she didn’t have to give away anything that she loved or things that were special gifts from people she cared about. She really seemed to grasp that anything she picked out would be going to another child, and that she wouldn’t see it again. Time and time again she asked me to put things in the give-away pile.
She became so excited as the pile grew higher and deeper. I had to stop her from giving away a few things that I know she really does love and would miss, but I let her put a number of things in the pile that she likes a lot. She has a closet full of toys, and sometimes she will go months without playing with some of them, so I know she’s not going to miss things. Even though some of the toys are incredibly cute, or were something I loved when they were given to her, I let her make those decisions. If I could choose between passing along generosity or the habits of a pack rat, I’ll choose generosity, thanks.
As we packed everything into a giant box, Ruthie sang a little song that went like this: “Giving away! Giving away! Giving away all these toys!”
I’m so proud of her. What a sweet-hearted little girl.