A few weeks ago I received an email, which is not really that unusual. I probably receive a couple hundred of emails a week. Roughly 87% of those emails are from facebook, twitter, redbox, or itunes, but there was something really unusual about this email. First of all, it was a fairly negative email, which I get, but not that often. The email was from an upset parent who had given their child money for the offering but we did not take offering in kids church on that particular week. The writter of the email was concerned that we are not teaching our kids how to give, and that we are not taking offering.
I agree 97% with the ideas behind the email. First , I would like to explain our offering system in Kids Church. We do take offering but only once a month. I want to make a big deal about the offering and talk about where it goes, and why we give and all these other things. I simply can’t do that every week. So we make a big deal about it once a month on the first Sunday. Often times, kids come to church with offering, and they simply hand it to me rather than wait for me to collect the offering. That works just as well.
Next, I agree 100% that kids should learn to give, however this method is all wrong. I believe that it is the parent’s job to spiritually raise their kids. I have 1.5 hours a week with the 50 kids. Parents have something like 60 waking hours a week with their 2.5 kids. I am not trying to skirt my responsibilities and saying that it is not by job to teach, but what I teach the kids should be in addition to/reinforcing what the parents are teaching.
Finally, and this is the most important thing for me to say on this subject. Giving your children money before they go to children’s church is not teaching them to give. This simply makes them your vehicle through which you gave. It is the equivalent of writing a check, sitting them on your lap, and having them place it in the offering container, then saying that they gave the money. Kids do need to be taught to give, but before they are taught to give, they need to learn about money. Here are some suggestions that I would like to give you to teach your kids about money. These are not my ideas, they come from Dave Ramsey.
Do not give your kids an allowance. Allowance is like disability, you are essentially telling your kids, “You can’t work, so I’ll make allowance for you and give you money anyway.” Rather than allowance, put them on commission. Make chores for them (age appropriate) and a dollar amount for each chore, and when they do their chores pay them immediately. Be sensible here, or they may end up making $100 a week. Note: not every chore they do requires payment. I don’t get paid to wash the dishes, but I do it anyways. Big chores earn money and smaller or routine chores can be their payment for living in the house and eating the food.
Teach the reasons to have money. Basically there are three reasons to have money (you can break each reason down to more reasons, but there are really only 3: Save, Give, Spend. Take 3 clear jars, and label each jar with these labels. When the kids receive their commission, ball it up and place it in the proper jar. I recommend a 60/20/20 split here (60% spend, 20% Saving 20% giving). Biblically, we are only required to give 10%, but if we are teaching kids to give, why not teach them to give more? If you are paying your children with dollar bills, ball it up so that it looks like the jar is more full. If they earn $1 for each chore, and they only earn one dollar, be sure to fill each jar according to how ever you decide to allot the spend, save, give. On Sunday morning, the children have their giving money already, that they have learned to earn themselves and can give it in kids church. Or they can find another great cause to give to as well.
If you do this, or something like this, your kids will learn the value of hard work, and proper giving as well as how to save. Tune in next week for more tips on relating with kids and money.