When my husband, Jay and I were young parents, we taught our two daughters what our parents taught us:  to be generous givers; those who share and save their money as well as spend it.    I remember the formula.  Our weekly allowance was divided in three areas:  church, savings, spending (play money).  We raised our kids on the same principle, and pray and trust that now as they are young adults, some of our stewardship teaching has been caught up into their lives of faith.

Kathy Haueisen is the ELCA Stewardship Key Leader.  After serving as an ELCA pastor for over 20 years, she now helps congregations put together capital campaign projects.  In the latest Giving magazine, she highlights things that parents can do to influence their children’s attitudes and actions as co-stewards of the family household.[1]

1)       Let your children see you giving donations to charitable causes, and doing random acts of kindness.  Talk about why you support organizations you do and why you help others.

2)      Teach and model the 10-10-80 concept:  share a tenth, save a tenth, spend the rest wisely.

3)      Take your children shopping for people that they will never meet – other children, new mothers, elders, those with special needs.  Talk with your children about why these people may need additional support.

4)      Share age-appropriate stories about generous people from your congregation, neighborhood, or community.  What was their motivation?

5)      When you grocery shop for your family, let your children pick out food items that they would like to share with others who are hungry.  Explain how the food will be distributed.

6)      Give your children catalogs from nonprofit organizations, (such as ELCA Good Gifts) and let them pick out a project they would like to know more about and support.

7)      Teach children how to write thank-you notes (email and text messaging counts).  Talk with your children how expressing gratitude helps us all grow and thrive.

8)      Help your children learn the difference between a “need” and a “want.”  Teach your children ways to make a list of what they want, and learn about what to resist buying.

9)      Take children with you to visit new neighbors, residents of health care facilities, or those from your faith community who may need some extra TLC.   What can be learned from nurturing a wide range of steward relationships?

10)  Encourage your children to practice being stewards of your congregation’s well-being.  How can your children participate in cross-generational ways throughout the life of your congregation?

As we continue to grow faithful steward leaders in our families, congregations, and communities,

Sandy Chrostowski, Director for Evangelical Mission, Greater Milwaukee Synod

[1] Will Our Children Be Generous?, Giving:  Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, Ecumenical Stewardship Center:  Minnesota, 2013, p. 24.

© 2017 Greater Milwaukee Synod

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