As a parent, generosity is pretty high up on the list of concepts you want to instill in your child. The notion of sharing what you have with others is something that kids can generally understand — in theory.
But theory needs to turn to practice sooner rather than later. So, how do parents help their children understand that what they’ve been given isn’t just for them, but also to be shared?
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We asked Caryn Rivadeneira, the author of the three Generous Kids books that were created in partnership with brightpeak financial and Beaming Books – Mine, It’s Not Fair! and The Wrong Shoes – how she came up with the stories that teach kids about money, possessions, self-worth, and sharing.
“Generosity is more than just about giving money. It’s a spirit issue, a willingness to live open-hearted and open-handed, ready to share whatever we’ve been given, not out of duty but out of love and kindness.”
Using that idea as her guide, Caryn went to work developing the stories for each of the three books.
“For the youngest kids, I wrote Mine. Mine shows us that while it’s great to have our own stuff, sharing our things makes all of life much more fun.
It’s Not Fair! flips the idea of “learning to share” on its head for 4-6-year-olds. While we like to think we need to teach kids how to share, truth is, lots of kids are great at sharing! They’re born generous. The trouble with already-generous kids is what happens when our generosity hits a snag.
The Wrong Shoes uses journal-style entries to take 7-8-year-olds to places and to people they never expected as they learn age-appropriate ways to earn, to save—and to give.
Writing these books served as great reminders of the huge variety of ways we can be generous—and the huge variety of ways we are blessed with abundance.”
After the reading the books, Caryn says that she hopes that, “kids and parents come away with a deeper understanding of what being generous looks like—and why living as generous people makes this world a better place!”
Outside of reading the books, we asked Caryn what advice she would give to parents about how to inspire their kids to be generous people.
“A couple of things come to mind. We can be generous in many ways: with our time, our toys, our talents, our ‘treasure,’ even our troubles! I mean, I love the idea of teaching kids to be generous in telling stories of when they had hard times. It’s teaching that we can properly steward EVERYTHING God has given us—even our experiences.
Also, and this is very important – praise generosity in your kids whenever you see it. It’s easy to harp on kids when we catch them NOT sharing, but when you even see a kid scoot over to make room for a sibling, praise that! It’s being generous.”
Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of seven books–for both children and adults. Her most recent titles include Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible and The Story of Noah’s Ark (both SparkHouse Family). Caryn serves on the worship staff at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church and is a proud member of INK: A Creative Collective and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Caryn lives in the near-west suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three kids, and one rescued pit bull. Find Caryn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat or visit her at carynrivadeneira.com.