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Saturday, July 2, 2011

How do you teach your Children About Charity?

This post is part of a series on the Seven Virtues.
Practicing the seven  virtues is considered to protect one against temptation from the seven deadly sins, with each one having its counterpart. . Each of the seven heavenly virtues matches a corresponding deadly sin.
The seven virtues are Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.

Let’s first answer the question “What is Charity?”
Webster’s Dictionary Defines Charity as benevolent goodwill toward or love of toward . It is generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; aid given to those in need. It is also the  lenient judgment of others.
How Do We Teach Charity?
We teach our children by our actions. They will learn just as much by watching us and what they do as they will by what we tell them.
You are your child’s primary teacher. So what is the best way to teach your child about Charity? Is it to show them the check book and how much you donate to causes each month? Is it to let them put the collection envelope in the basket at church? Do you let them help decide who to give money to?   All of these are great ideas.
For me however, actions speak volumes. How you live your life, every day tells your children volumes.
What do you do when you see a homeless man at the gas station asking for $1. what do you do when you see a mother at church struggling with her young kids? What do you do when you hear about a disaster such as the Joplin Tornado? How do you get your kids to be charitable?
The expression charity begins at home is so true. We demonstrate charity by inviting people into our homes. Wither we host them for one evening or one week.  Who do we give charity to? You are practicing being charitable.
When you see a homeless person how do you react, do you shun them or embrace them?  I know people who do both.  I have seen people avert their eyes at the homeless,or  look right through them. On the other hand, I know a young boy that encounters them almost daily and this 3 year old will talk to them, showing them a real depth of compassion that an adult can’t fathom. His mother has seen told stories of him not only talking to the homeless and listening to them with true compassion but of sharing a  hug with a  homeless man at the park too.
This week I encountered  a person down on his luck, he had shown up at church seeking help and was turned away because he happened to be there at the wrong time. Seeing this, bothered me deeply.   Latter that same week my children and I, very surprisingly. encountered a homeless man outside a local gas station.  He was asking for fifty cents. My daughter wanted to know if I was going to give him money.  I said no, I was going to give him a protein bar and a water bottle It was over 100 degrees that day and he was wearing long pants and had a sweatshirt around his shoulder standing outside the gas station.  While I was in the gas station many people walked by him averting eyes and  ignoring his pleas for help.  If charity is defined as benevolent goodwill toward humanity, how do you practice goodwill towards other?
Charity is defined as generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering –  Do you visit the sick? Do you pray for them, truly pray for them? Do you offer to take them to the doctor or stop at the store for them if they can’t get out of the house?  How do you practice this form of charity?  How do you show helpfulness?
Charity is defined as giving aid – How do you give aid to others? This is a great way to give of your money and time. Take the kids and work at day at your local food bank. Give freely of your talents. If you are a great organizer help organize the fundraiser. There are many ways we can share our talents. How do you share your talents? To you make your talents increase?
Charity is defined as lenient judgment of others.   Do you pre-judge others and suppose that if they are in a bad condition that they must deserve it? Somehow they did something that got them to that point? Or are you lenient and forgiving or people and their circumstances.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in: Naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? or thirsty, and gave You a drink? When did we see You as a stranger, and took You in? or naked, and clothed You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You? And the King shall answer and say to them, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me. – Matthew 25:31-40
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