One of my favorite homemade desserts is a Hello Dolly Bar (aka Magic Bars, Seven Layer Bars). It’s a graham cracker crust layered with chocoalte chips, butterscotch chips, pecans, coconut and covered in sweetened condensed milk. I could eat an entire pan by myself. (I just made some for Asa’s teachers…so they’re on my mind.) Anyway, let’s pretend I made an entire pan for you. I cut them up in perfect squares and laid them on a beautiful plate. One of my special brown and turquoise plates I bought for myself just because they are cute.
Then I brought them to your house. I set them on your kitchen table and said, “ENJOY! I made these just for you. They are delicious and my very favorite snack.” You picked one up, ate it and were of course, blown away by it’s yumminess. I am happy you are happy and decide to leave. But before I jump in my car I say, “Oh, by the way, could you bring my plate back when you’re done?”
What would you say?
“NO WAY! Are you kidding me?! How rude can you get? BRING YOUR PLATE BACK? I’m disgusted. I can’t believe you!”
Or would you simply say, “Of course! Thanks again for the Hello Dolly Bars!”
I’m pretty sure it would be the latter. After all I made the dessert for YOU. I brought them to your house. The least you can do is return the plate to me. In fact, you’d probably be happy to bring it back to me.
This is an object lesson we used to use in our children’s church. Kids are very in tune with “fairness”. They realize it’s only fair to return the plate to me. But what about God? He gives us EVERYTHING. He made everything. He designed it with us in mind. He made the world for our pleasure and our good. So, when he asks us to give back to Him, we should be MORE than excited to do so.
I have grown into my generosity as an adult. I love to give back to God. But I’d love this to be something my children lean and understand at an early age. They don’t get much money (obviously) but they do have tons of STUFF. I so want them to see how blessed they are and choose to give instead of want more.
I’ve seen selfishness bubble up into Lydia’s words and actions. She sees a new toy and wants it. She can’t understand why we’re giving a princess gift to a friend on her birthday and she’s not getting one. She finds money and assumes its for her. I know she’s only 3. I know selfishness is par for the course at this age. I just don’t want the selfishness to grow with her.
I posted last week about the banks we made for Lydia’s money. One is for tithe (10% of her “income”), one for save (10%) and the 3rd jar is for the rest of her money–to spend. Of course, she was excited to put some money in the jar for God. She was “eh” about the save jar. But the clinking quarters in that spend jar had her giddy.
Then she got an American Girl catalog in the mail. She said, “I want one.” She assumed we’d be buying her one. Or two. And the dog. And cat. And a few outfits to match. We explained that this was what her SAVE jar was for. So, she immediately emptied her entire SPEND jar into the SAVE jar. She is determined that American Girl will be hers. It doesn’t help much that we have an American Girl store in town and get to walk through it every time we go to the mall. (Seriously, you’ll doubt the recession if you walk into that store on a Saturday afternoon. Those eight year olds and their mamas will mow you down in there!)
But even after we talked about her money, about giving to God and saving some for her American Girl, she still doesn’t get the God factor. She finds a quarter and says, “I’m putting this in my save box!” I’m not sure if I’m overthinking this or trying to hard. But I can just see how we flirt with a lifestyle of selfishness. We are so blessed. We have a nice house. She has doting grandparents. She has more toys than she needs. I can buy her clothes and books anytime I want.
So my first thought was to teach her about money becuase it’s hard to “tithe” your clothes or your toys that Grandma gives, you know? Plus, she recently got $5 and I didn’t want her to blow it at the Dollar Store. I wanted her to recognize God in all her gifts. I even thought about an allowance so she can begin to see how money works and where it goes.
So, if I didn’t ramble too much, it’s YOUR TURN. What do you think? How do you show God’s great provision? How do you help your kids understand our blessed-ness? How do you promote thankfulness? Willingness to give? How do you teach your kids to be good with money? With stuff?