Monday, February 25, 2013

Teaching tool: Modeling generosity

Just as positive thinking has to be taught, so does generosity, I think, and I have already seen the results of this with 7-year-old Brady.

He got upset and yelled at his step-dad a few weeks back and got sent to his room. When he came out, he was holding a box with his back scratcher in it, an apology present for Jason.

Brady responds to big feelings and love by giving things to people. I like to encourage that and also try and show generosity whenever I can as well.

When my mom brought all 8 Harry Potter movies over the course of a month, he ran to his room after the last one and got her a $1 bill. He gives Jason and I $1 bills or dimes whenever he is feeling lots of love for us.

He gave Jase this toy snake and plastic cowboy hat the other day out of the blue, just to show his love. And when I told him I'd let him have the last of the bath crystals, he told me it made him sad I wouldn't have any more and so I should use half and then he'd have the other half.

I gave him two of my barrettes because he wanted to give a gift to his new best friend, a girl, and said, "That's what you do when you have a best friend, right? You give them things they'd like?"

He also told me, "I talk about puppies and Barbies with her because that's what she likes to talk about."

It's even generous to do things outside your interests just because a friend or family member wants to.

It warms my heart so much and I can only credit what God has taught me - with Jesus being the original model - and giving me enough grace to try and pass it on.

I love to give people things I have as presents or make them things. My Mom and I are always giving each other things - food, clothes, jewelry, make up, treats. Brady has seen that for years.

I have Brady pick out toys he no longer wants, and though he sells some (gotta learn about earning and saving money too!), he also gives some to his after-school care place (where he finds joy in seeing the little kids playing with them) or to Goodwill for someone else to buy and use.

Seeing the results in him makes me want to model it even more. Parents are the filter on the world through which our children see things. We show them what's important, how to act and talk and what to focus on. Wow, that's the biggest responsibility in the world, and the most precious gift.

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