Learning Generosity through my Littles

When our family was just beginning, Jake and I went through a big family dreaming time- thinking about what we wanted our family to be about- who we wanted to become. We knew that if we aimed at nothing, it’d be easy for life to pass us by without making a dent on our part of the world. Part of this process was coming up with family values. We chose five, in no particular order:

  • faith
  • creativity
  • generosity
  • equality
  • compassion

We try to be intentional about talking and doing things that integrate these values into the fabric of our lives.

Anyway, all that to say- my kids totally rocked the generosity value the other day. The university at which I work was collecting supplies for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Before leaving for work one day, I talked to the kids about boys and girls who are without homes because of the Hurricane, and how wouldn’t it be great if they chose a toy or two that they would like to give to the kids who were living in the shelters.

I got an email later that day from Jake, telling me that the kids were really getting into it, and at one point Asante came up to him, tears in his eyes, and said, “Dad, I think I’m okay with giving away our ipad.” The ipad is probably Asante’s most treasured possession. Jake never said anything about the ipad, but Asante’s sweet heart felt the need to offer the thing he loved best. True generosity.

Later when I got home, I expected to see a few toys in a box, ready for me to take the next morning. I came home to our entire hallway upstairs filled with things- mostly toys. I must admit, my first reaction was- no no, we don’t need to give all this stuff away. Just a couple things. But, thankfully I didn’t say that out loud….after thinking about it for the rest of the night, wrestling with a few items I saw in there that I didn’t want the kids to give away, I realized that I needed to let my kids give extravagantly. The last thing I need to teach them is to temper their giving.

Unfortunately, I think they will probably learn that soon enough.

all the toys were piles onto the couch before I loaded them in the car

I’m so proud of them- their giving, compassionate hearts that gave some of their favorite toys because some other kids didn’t have any. They reminded me that sometimes we’re called to give until we feel it– and then give a little more.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. ~2 Corinthians 9.11

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