One of the most powerful principals we can instil into our children is to be generous. Generosity is described as: “ready to give freely, unselfish, free from smallness or pettiness of mind or character:”
I don’t know about you but I love being around generous people. There is something so special about generous people that brings life, joy, empowerment and freedom into the atmosphere when they turn up.
It’s interesting to see the dictionary doesn’t just put generosity into the basket of only giving money away.
We can teach our children to live a life of generosity whether they are financially secure or not. They don’t have to wait to have an income and our generosity doesn’t have to be limited by our income. The only thing that limits our generosity is our mindset and our character.
We as parents and grandparents can teach our children to be generous with their belongings, be willing to go the extra mile and share and give unconditionally to someone else. When we are generous ourselves with our time, our attitudes towards others, our possessions and our money and our encouragement to others, our children will learn from our example. It is sometimes one of the hardest characteristics to develop in our children, as let’s face it, it can be hard to be selfless.
We as adults and children struggle to put others before ourselves. Society repeatedly encourages us to look out for number one. We don’t need much encouragement in looking out for number one as it is probably one of the strongest natural instincts. Unless we show our children first hand how to be generous, they will probably never learn or understand what true generosity looks like. I have found over the years the more generous I become, the more empowered I become. It takes us to a level of freedom that is hard to describe but is so powerful. When we are focused on other people’s needs and desires and look for ways to bless them with no strings attached, we take ourselves to a place of fulfilment that I believe we are all designed to experience.
I am a great believer that the only way to truly reach our full potential is to make sure while we head towards our dreams being fulfilled we help others achieve theirs. Those who live generous lives have a sense of worth and satisfaction that seemingly isn’t displayed in those who don’t.
My mother was my greatest example of this. She would always put others before herself and was always on the look out for those she could lift up on their journey. She showed me first hand how to find ways to bless those less fortunate than myself. She showed me this not just by raising money for the needy which she was very good at, but also by giving her money and herself. Mum always respected other people and their cultures, always was first to see someone who needed encouragement and freely gave it.
I remember a time when I was young there was a home for boys who were troubled, the boys came from all sorts of backgrounds through the Children’s Court. Mum would have some of them home for Sunday baked roast lamb for lunch, it was fantastic to see these boys and how they felt valued by mum and us as a family. Some of them would never have seen a healthy family before. I always hoped it made a big difference to their futures. I remember a young girl who worked with mum and she was very lonely, no family support and she found herself in financial trouble. Mum brought her home to live with her and my father for awhile until she got back on her feet financially and emotionally. We were all married at the time, so mum and dad enjoyed her company. That girl remains an example of how you always end up blessed yourself when you show generosity.
I don’t know just how much of a difference these and many other things mums did for so many over the years (she continued well into her eighties), but I do know it all had a huge impact on the way I live my life. As I live my life influenced by my mother I have learnt the incredible freedom and empowerment that generosity brings to the giver and the receiver. I am not saying we all need to bring people into our homes; this is just not appropriate for all to do. However, I am saying generosity is a critical characteristic to be developed into our children if they are to truly to their full potential.
Generosity comes in all shapes and sizes; it is not just about giving to those who are in need, it is just as important to give freely to everyone. Our friends may need a word of encouragement or appreciation, someone might need the gift of being listened to, or someone might just need to be understood. People who are generous in spirit are the ones willing to appreciate those who they may not even agree with on some issues; we can show generosity in many different ways.
Let’s teach our children and empower them to be generous in their attitudes to others, teaching them to stop, to think of others, to listen to others, share with others, value others and give to others. One way that can be exciting for them and they can learn about other cultures at the same time is to let them sponsor a child from overseas. Let them give some of their pocket money towards the child, they can write letters to them and develop a friendship with someone from an entirely different world. Their world will be expanded and
the child receiving the support can be educated, fed and set free from poverty. Your child will be taught as well as they find out more about the world and how others live. They will also receive the wonderful blessing of knowing they made a huge difference to someone else. I am sure you can think of many ways to help your children become generous people and be the person that others love to be around as their generosity changes the atmosphere wherever they go.