It can be so hard to teach kids about the importance of giving. We can all so easily be sucked in to the desires of the world – a culture of always wanting more.
Last fall, my heart was stirred to reflect on what it really meant to say that you are a Christian and follow Jesus. I read two books that challenged my thinking: 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. My husband and I decided we needed to make some changes in our family life. One of them was, we needed to make giving a priority each month. As a family, we wanted to honor God through giving and serving and meeting other’s needs. We needed to steer our focus away from us always wanting more to us helping more. So, we decided to start this once a month journey. (If you want to read the first post in the start of this journey, click here.)
This month, the high school where I teach was participating in a school-wide food drive to help stock a local food shelf. Perfect. We took our boys shopping and we filled our cart with food. I thought this would be a great way to teach our children about sharing our resources with local people that need food and also a great lesson for my students to see me giving so generously. I hoped my students would catch the giving spirit and want to give themselves.
No such luck. Not one student brought food to share. Not one.
When I received an email saying my class had won one of the food drive days for bringing the most food. I had to quietly email the teacher back that my students didn’t bring any food at all, and to give the reward to the next highest class of food donators.
I have to admit I felt discouraged. I had success with my one kids, but it is easy for little kids to get enthusiastic about giving when their parents are making it a priority and paying for it. I had secretly hoped my students would be inspired too.
But, I have learned that success isn’t always measured in results. There is a value in a seed of generosity being planted. For my students, maybe next time the seed will sprout into the action of actually giving. (And how well do I really know some of those kids’ stories? Some could be the ones needing the food.)
I set an example for both my kids and my students. This month, we followed God’s call to feed the hungry. That is enough for me to call declare April a success.