The old adage about grandparents spoiling their grandchildren might be something we laugh at, but it is no laughing matter. Character is born from whether we spoil our children and grandchildren or whether we instill virtues, values, and a good work ethic within them. In a culture where our perspective of how much is too much is likely skewed; we need a proper perspective on how to prepare our children’s hearts so they can be grateful and generous with what God has given to them.
Our goal should be that they become “conduits” of the blessings they receive and experience rather than mere “containers” of those blessings. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). If giving generously blesses the giver more than the recipient (and it does) wouldn’t we want our children and grandchildren to experience those blessings as we do?
Developing a heart of gratitude and generosity takes intentionality and a plan, as well as consistency in order for our efforts to truly bear fruit in the lives of our heirs.
Our children learn to appreciate the value of money and things when they work for them. This produces a spirit of gratitude. Expectations are not on others to give them their wants but on themselves. Let them work alongside you even when they do not benefit monetarily. This teaches them to have a servant’s heart, and helps avoid an “entitlement mentality”.
Helping our children to tame their wants by exposing them to others who are in greater need as well as having them serve others is a great way to help guard their hearts against selfishness and to inspire generosity. Working in a soup kitchen or encouraging them to find a way to give back helps them to see that we were never supposed to just receive blessings, but to share them. It also helps them to take their focus off themselves.
While it is worthwhile to raise our children to be able to be generous with others and to provide for themselves, that provision will not be stewarded well if they do not first have the character to be able to handle what they earn or what is given to them. Living out a life of integrity ourselves is the best example for our children and grandchildren, as well as purposefully guarding the influences in their lives so they can see that a genuine person is not just grateful and generous outwardly, but inwardly, as well.
Need additional tips for how to cultivate gratitude and generosity in the next generation? Create A Thriving Family Legacy: How To Share Your Wisdom And Wealth With Your Children And Grandchildren is available at major book retailers. Contact our office for a free consultation. We assist clients in developing an intentional, proactive plan for mentoring and disciplining their children and grandchildren and in creating family unity and purpose in a multi-generational context. If that sounds like something that would be a blessing to your family, please contact us to schedule a conversation.