How to Teach Children the Art of Giving

By Jeff Anderson

We said a short prayer and then I looked up and asked him, “what if we give $250?”

Austin quickly said, “I was thinking $450 – that would be half.”

I was impressed with his thinking.  And I trusted his instincts.  So that’s what we did.

We explained to Melissa that we were in for $450.  She was stunned (she had just a few dollars and some change in large tub in her lap).  We explained that when she raised the other half, we would give the rest.  Sure enough, she raised the money and one week later Austin accompanied me to deliver the check to her trip sponsor.

When you have opportunity, engage your children in your family giving.  They will likely draw on these experiences some day in their own giving journeys.

Connect their giving to God’s blessings – that’s God’s smile

One of the reasons I want my children to give generously is because I want them to experience God’s blessings.

One weekend Austin took the time to get caught up on his bookkeeping.  After many weeks of just stashing cash in his notebook, Austin finally took the time to organize his money envelopes.  After squaring away his “giving” envelope, he asked me if I would drive him downtown to give the money to the homeless shelter.  It was Saturday and I did not want to make a downtown trip.  But we did anyway.

The next week Austin was given an opportunity to work at a basketball tournament over multiple weekends.  I’ll never forget his email to me from school.  “Thank you dad for taking me downtown to give my gift – God has blessed me because of it.”

Help your children connect their giving to the work of God’s hand in their lives.  Like Austin, they will likely recognize it themselves first.  Remind them that God notices their gifts and is pleased when His children bring gifts to Him.  The Christian journey is a faith walk.  We don’t see God with our eyes or hear Him with our ears.  Instead we believe in something and someone we cannot see.  That is why it’s called faith.

When children give acceptable gifts and experience the blessings of God, that’s God’s smile. And when God smiles, His children will smile… and as parents raising children to know and please God, you will smile too.

Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson has worked with churches for nearly two decades, as elder in his own church, and as Vice President, Generosity Initiatives with Crown Financial Ministries, and currently as leader of

Jeff continues to consult and speak, and is the author of Plastic Donuts, A Fresh Perspective on Gifts.