by Dion Woods
Teaching your children how to create and manage money is vital to their financial well-being as adults. However, did you know that teaching them how to give some of it away is vital to their success in keeping money? There’s an ancient proverb that says, “a man may give freely, and still his wealth will be increased; and another may keep back more than is right, but only comes to be in need.”
It almost seems a contradiction in terms that wealth grows when some of it is given away to help someone else. However, I’ve seen this principal work in my own life and most recently in the life of my young son. He loves to give in church. For some reason, that no one can explain, he always seems to get more. Whether it’s his grandparents who come by with an unexpected blessing, or his own willingness to do extra things to make money, he always seems to be loaded. It’s hard to explain, but it’s undeniable when you experience it. Giving produces benefit for the one who works it.
Unfortunately, giving requires letting go. That’s the challenge! We don’t want to let go of what we have because we think we will be the worse for it. However, such thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth. The greatest things in life have come as the result of what we’ve given away. Whether, it’s a spouse to whom we gave our hearts or a child to whom we gave our time, the reward always superseded the effort. This is the essence of why it’s important to teach children to give.
I realize that giving time and talent is one thing. However, giving money is another. Nothing has the ability to stir up the host of emotions that reside in the human spirit like money. Whether it’s talking about it, working to get more of it, or passing judgment on those whom we feel have too much of it, money is intricately tied to the way we view life. The role of money is so important that the Bible addresses this topic more than any other issue, including forgiveness. Of particular interest is a scripture that says, “Where a man’s (or woman’s) treasure is, there his heart will be also.” In other words, where we spend our money is a barometer for where we are committed. For example, if I spend the bulk of my earned income on golfing events, a new sports car and other personal pleasures at the expense of my family’s needs, I wouldn’t be demonstrating my commitment to my family. My heart would indict me (based upon the evidence of my spending) even if my mouth continued to proclaim my innocence.
Therefore, encouraging children to properly use money represents more than just helping them create a better financial future; it’s actually helping to shape their hearts! For example, children who solely use their money for personal needs are indirectly training their hearts to be self-centered. With each purchase, they are learning that their personal desires are what matter most. As long as there is no challenge to their ongoing personal purchases, their own needs will reign supreme in their lives.
Likewise, children who hoard all their money in a savings account in hopes of making it grow may find it challenging to relinquish some of it in order to help others. This is why teaching the importance of giving at a young age is so critical. By the time a child is a pre-teen, spending patterns are firmly established and value systems are shaped.
Only when a child is taught the principles of generosity, as exemplified by the act of giving money away, is the real power of money released for their good. Here’s the way it works. When a child (or adult) gives away a portion of what they have personally earned in order to help others, they constrain the nature of greed that resists such acts of kindness, which opens the door of abundance for others to pour into their lives. Over time, such acts of giving literally break the back of greed and free a child to prosper in wholehearted generosity.
Look at great givers like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates. Their giving has not only enriched the lives of millions, but has literally released the power of money to work for their own good. Even the founders of Google understood that when you give something away, you open yourself up to receive something much greater in return. By giving away the services of their search engine for free, they have enriched the lives of billions of people who need access to information on the Internet. In return, investors have enriched the lives of these givers to the tune of about $10 billion each. Strong proof of the principle that it is better to give than receive!
The 3Piggie$® Savings System for Children recognizes the importance of giving and has made it an integral part of the financial learning process. Not only are children required to save for giving with our system; they are encouraged to carefully record and monitor their giving. It’s our belief that, as children continue to work these principles, they will not only become the next generation of philanthropists, but the world will be the better for it as well. For more information about the 3Piggie$® Savings System, visit our web site at www.3piggies.com.
Notice: This article is the intellectual property of Next Level Concepts, Ltd. and no use in part or whole in any media is permitted without the express written agreement of the author. All Rights Reserved: Dion Woods 2006.