Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing Generosity

This week I’ve been sharing about some of the ways the Wood boys can earn money around here. ( Cash for Candy, Household Jobs, & Scripture Memory) As parents, training our kids how to properly handle money is a wonderful gift that we can give them. And part of that training, for Christian parents, includes what it means to tithe.
Tithing (giving the first 10% of every dollar we make back to God) is such a simple thing to teach a child. In fact, it’s really simple for adults, as well. Simple, but not easy. The beauty of teaching a child to tithe when they are young is that it feels normal and the discipline is not nearly as difficult for them. 
Andy & I were both blessed to have parents who taught us to tithe when we were children. So as we grew up and started making more money, it wasn’t ever a question to us whether or not we would tithe. 
Generosity has been a huge blessing and source of joy in our marriage. It’s really neat to watch God continually grow our faith as He calls us to higher levels of generosity. Anytime you increase your giving it feels a little scary, but it is fulfilling to watch God continually provide. A highlight of my year each year is when I total up our non-profit contributions to report on our taxes and TurboTax notifies me that we are at risk of being audited because our non-profit contributions seem disproportionate to our income!
One reason our chores and Bible verses are worth 10 cents each is because it’s so easy for them to visually understand tithing. Let’s say that Caedmon earned a total of $3.40 one week. I would give him 34 dimes that we would line up in 3 rows of 10 with and extra row of 4. Then I have him take at least one dime from each row to put in an offering envelope and at least one dime from each row to put in his piggy bank to save. Sometimes he way exceeds the 10% rule. Then we count how many dimes he has left and I trade him a dollar for every ten dimes he has. The leftover money goes in his wallet for him to spend as he pleases. Although, right now we’re saving for season passes to Great America so all of his extra money is going towards meeting that goal. 
Caedmon has so much fun with this whole process. He loves trading out his dimes for dollars and counting the grand total. The child loves money...probably a little too much! For instance, at Easter time we were talking about acting out the Easter story and he told me that he wanted to be Judas because Judas got all the money! I literally was speechless. I think I said something like, “Uh, I don’t think you want to be Judas, buddy. Judas was cursed. He’s the bad guy in the story.” But he was still pretty confident. It was only when Andy told him that Judas died and didn’t get to keep the money that Caedmon was ready to choose a different character. Slightly disturbing...
Nevertheless! Teaching principles of Biblical finance should start young. And we’re hoping that the Biblical principle about “the love of money being the root of all evils” will one day sink in as well!

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