The following is a quote from Dr. Henry Cloud about entitlement.
“Pointing to one character trait that causes more misery in people’s lives than any other would be difficult. Certainly one of the top three or four destructive traits would be having a feeling of entitlement. Entitlement is when someone feels as if people owe things or special treatment simply because he exists.”
• What are we teaching our kids about Christmas gifts?
• Are we teaching kids about giving or are we teaching them about getting?
• Do our kids feel like they are entitled to Christmas gifts?
I’m not saying we should stop giving Christmas gifts, but I am saying we can do harm to our children if we give too much. We can unknowingly create within them a sense of entitlement.
So, how do we flip it? How do we teach our kids to have an attitude of gratitude instead of a sense of entitlement?
The first step in teaching our kids about gratefulness is to teach them about tithing and giving.
Many parents think we should not challenge children in the area of tithing and giving.
They think that kids do not have money, so we should not talk to them about it.
It’s interesting to note that in the Bible Jesus encouraged the widow woman for giving the little that she had. He didn’t rebuke the people who took up the offering.
The bottom line is this – if we don’t teach our kids about tithing and giving, they will grow up with a sense of entitlement.
This is an object lesson that I use to teach kids about giving their tithe. All you need to teach this object lesson is a banana. It works at church and at home.
(This is my story but you may have one that is similar.)
To the kids:
“When I was a kid, I would spend most of my allowance as soon as I got it. First, I went to K-mart and bought some candy. (Take a bite form the banana.) Then I would go buy an ice cream cone (take another bite). Then I would go back to K-mart and buy some comic books (take another bite).
At church, I would reach into my pocket and say, “Sorry God. I wish I could give more but this is all I have left.” (Throw the banana peel into an offering bucket.)
I was giving God what I had left over.
The Bible says God wants your first fruits, not your leftovers.
Your tithe should come from your money, not your mom’s money. Some kids will ask their mom for money for the offering – that’s ok, but you still haven’t paid “your tithe” yet.
Tithing is first base when teaching your kids to have a “grateful heart.” When you bring your tithe to God, you are saying, “Thank You God! I recognize that everything I have belongs to you!”
Second base is teaching kids to give to the poor and give to others. Encourage your kids to give to the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, or Toys for Tots.
What if you challenged your kids to give away one of their favorite gifts? Maybe to a friend who didn’t get a lot of gifts? The reward they get from giving will far exceed the pleasure they get from using their gift. I know this is radical, but hey, we serve a radical Savior.
He gave His life for us.