Continued from last week ” Less commonly practiced is the outgoing concern that children need to see directed to others outside the immediate family. If this godly trait is only directed within the family, children can readily grow up to be self-centered and uncaring toward others. A child or parent who only sees the need for outgoing concern within the family will never see the need of the very Work of God in which the Church has been commissioned to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). Christ made it clear that “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Tithes and offerings given freely to God’s Work help children realize that the world is a much bigger place than just their immediate family. Children can be emotionally involved and excited in seeing where their offerings and tithes go, becoming aware of the benefit to others. For example, when our young daughter realized that her contribution covered the cost of printing and mailing a church booklet to some person watching our church’s television program, she decided to increase her offering, excited to realize that she, as an individual, played a part in the larger “Work” of God. Family discussions and prayers help focus young minds on the bigger picture of the meaning and goal of life, giving children a positive outlook on a plan so much larger than our physical existence. Parents” non-judgmental and positive approach will help children develop a strong desire to choose to be a part of the spiritual body of Christ as they mature. Children’s real-life personal involvement in giving of their time is also a key element in developing their concern for others. Some years ago, our family participated in an “Adopt the Elderly” program with older members of our church. At first, we were participating to be supportive of the elderly in their loneliness. Little did we realize that there would be many rewards and benefits not only to us, but to our children as well! In preparation for each visit, we reminded our children that while their “real” grandparents were not in the area, the elderly in the Church were “related” through the same ‘spiritual Father,” so they could look to them as a type of grandparent as well.
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