If you find the generosity of your children disappointing, you are not alone. A new report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Bristol University shows more than half of all donations to charity are from the over-60s compared with just over a third thirty years ago, it shows a growing generation gap.
Below are three things you can do right away to cultivate a spirit of generosity in your family.
1. Create a lasting experience
Research has shown that experiences, such as family vacations are remembered much longer than a gift received. Create an experience with the family that fosters a giving heart.
Here’s what you can do: The secret is to plan ahead. The next time the family is together for a vacation or together at the family vacation home, set aside a day or half-day for a family project. Ahead of time, locate various missions (food bank, shelter, care center, etc.) that would benefit from volunteers. If you need help, visit www.volunteermatch.org for places to volunteer. Ideally, you could find several opportunities and the family splits up to volunteer at several missions. When the family reconvenes at dinner that evening, share stories of what you did, what you saw and what was meaningful. At some point, you may choose to make the entire family vacation a mission. A local family in Atlanta with adult children travel every year on a medical mission to South America. It’s become a family tradition.
2. Create a conversation
American families rarely have dinner together, yet a decade of research shows that the family meal provides tremendous direction and value to children, particularly to those in their teens. Make the family meal a priority and develop an opportunity for rich conversation.
Here’s what you can do: At your next family meal, get the conversation started and tap into the idealism of your children (or grandchildren). Questions to consider: If you could do anything to change the world around you, what would that be? Did you see someone today that you wished you could help? What’s the nicest thing you said today to someone? If you had a bundle of money/toys/etc, who would you like to give it to?
3. Create an action
An application is a great way to make concepts stick.
Here’s what you can do: Get brains and hearts engaged. At your next family gathering, have each person put $10 in a hat. Gather the funds together and collectively vote for one person to be the servant leader. The person who was voted receives the money in the hat. Their job is to give all the money in the hat away, fully at their discretion. It’s amazing the weight of responsibility this exercise takes on and what is learned through practice. Next time you are together, do the same thing again and elect a new servant to give.
Reach forward and get started. Have fun cultivating generous hearts. It will pay off, as one day our children will be in a position to give all the resources we’ve left in the hat.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.