I think about promotions in three ways: 1) an advertised special purchase price, 2) a behavior we encourage, and 3) a position of higher responsibility in a career field. All three apply to our role as Dad’s helping promote our children’s generosity.
I’m straying into the topic of business for a minute. When a business thinks of promotions, it’s typically related to item 1 and 2 above. This holiday season, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and yes, I was still getting emails on THURSDAY after Thanksgiving!) are some of the biggest times of year when businesses put marketing into high gear to promote what they are selling. Many hours and dollars are spent in a highly intentional, well-planned process, to get customers to behave a certain way.
I think that’s a great place to start when considering how to teach our children to be generous.
Planning. How are we dads generous? Do we plan ways to give our time, energy, and money to others? How about our spouse—that person we promised to love more than any other person for a lifetime? I figure if we dads can remember our wives’ birthdays, Christmas, Valentines, Mother’s Day, and the ever-critical anniversary dates that is our bare minimum standard.
Do whatever it takes—write it on a calendar or plug the dates into your phone. The mother of our children should not be left wondering if we remembered to be generous with her. It should be something we plan for, not a hastily thrown together scheme at the last minute. Kids are watching. If a week before the big event, Dad invites the kids to help in a “secret” project to make Mom a home made card for her birthday or to help hide her Valentine’s chocolate box, they’ll understand this generosity concept is a big deal!
Modeling Behavior. If we want our kids to be generous, we need to be generous. Recently, as we enjoyed some donuts downtown at the local Hurts Donut shop I asked my twin sons, “How should a Dad teach his children to be generous?” Interesting responses:
My 10-year-old boys who normally think of nothing but Minecraft and robots said these things. Lots of active “doing” in there. It takes a lot of work to display kindness, patience, giving, volunteering, having a plan and sticking to it. I think these boys may have a future in business. I definitely think they’ll be great dads some day.
Position of Responsibility. I like to think of myself as an asset manager for God. In my local church, we use the word “steward” to mean a person who takes care of things that belong to someone else. The key to all of this generosity, for me, is looking at the role model of the greatest giver, my Lord Jesus Christ, and seeing a responsibility he has entrusted to me. When I’m tired and the kids are whiny and demanding, it’s hard to think about being generous to them, my wife, or anyone else. Some days I’d rather sit in a comfy chair, crack open a beer, and watch TV. But I’m called to be a servant leader, and nowhere in that job description do I see, “Sit in the corner and suck your thumb until you feel better about yourself.” Instead, by giving attention to the people around me, the selflessness that Christmas reminds us of is front and center of my calling and career as a Dad.
Generosity starts at home. I may not be the handsomest or fanciest Dad when the day has been a rough one, but a smile, a pat on the back, a hug, a “glad to see you today” goes a long way to showing my family how to be generous. Sometimes a surprise trip by their favorite donut shop is more than enough to model the thoughtfulness we would have our children display toward others, and all that sugar can spark some interesting conversation!
I’m a career Dad, an asset manager who has been graciously given a wife and three kids to help “manage.” To love, cherish, pray for, encourage, teach, and enjoy.