Since we’re on a theme of missions-involvement and kids this week, I thought I’d share an idea that I got from our Family Fun magazine several months ago. The idea of the jar is that it’s contents are the result of sacrifice. In other words, what goes into the jar is money we save from sacrificing something. Here’s how it works.
Say for instance, we are grocery shopping and because of a variety of unforeseen circumstances, it’s getting rather late in the morning. Lunchtime is approaching. I’ll ask the kids, “Do you want to stop and get something, or do you want to put the money in our giving jar and have sandwiches when we get home?” Now, grant it, the kids are learning, so the answer is not always what I hope, but in many cases the kids have decided to wait. And this is a sacrifice for them, as it often means that lunch doesn’t happen until 1:30 or 2:00. They are definitely hungry, but they know that their sacrifice will help a family who is always hungry.
Inside the jar, we place either the cash or an I.O.U. note. Then, when the jar is full or we’ve reached the desired amount, we’ll take out the notes and the cash and write a check for the total.
The lesson of the giving jar is to do without in order to help others, and the charity could be anything you think your kids will relate to. Our church recently filled baby bottles with cash and donated them to the local crisis pregnancy center, for example. My son, who is always hungry, definitely relates and is eager to help children who don’t have food. The family in the Family Fun magazine that originated the idea was helping victims of natural disasters. But the whole concept is to expand our children’s vision of giving beyond asking us for money, understanding that sacrificing is the ultimate expression of compassion.
And if you have ideas of how your family has taught these lessons, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment telling us about your family project, and we’ll help each other as we teach our kids about missions and giving.