I explained to our older 2 kids (Hannah, 8, and Elijah, almost 6) that I was going to give each of them $10, and they could use it on whatever they wanted. If they wanted to save it, or spend it on themselves, or give, or buy something for someone else, that is fine. I did not want them to do anything based on what they thought I wanted them to do. The only thing they had to do was consider what God wanted them to do. Normally, they feel so much pressure from me to "do the right thing" and "be good kids," but they need to learn that they should seek to please our Lord. Before anything else, we need to seek Him and His will.
Hannah immediately said that she was going to buy a gift for her best friend. Elijah said that he was going to give it away. I asked them if that's what God wanted them to do. They were confused, since those were "good deeds." I explained that those were good choices, but they may not be want God wants at this time.
Soon, Elijah asked, "But can I ask you for advice?" What a great question! Of course he can, but only after he learns to ask God. Within 10 years, I will no longer be a primarily authority figure in his life; I will be in a role of delegating responsibility, and later we will be in partnership. This project is a great opportunity to sow nuggets of truth as I seek to disciple my kids according to Deuteronomy 6:7 - "Repeat [these commands] again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up."
What I hope my children will learn through this endeavor:
- Whatever we do with what God has given us can be an act of worship. That could mean sharing, saving, or even enjoying His blessings.
- Just because something is good does not necessarily mean that God wants you to do it.
- I will always love them, no matter what choices they make.
edit: See the final results here.