Five Parenting Tips to Impart Interest in Sharing
Before marriage and family, I worked as a certified snowboard instructor for 10 years. I recognize it’s easier to train a beginner to execute beneficial skills than it is to retrain someone who has unproductive ones. I’m making an effort to apply this philosophy to sharing in my household.
When bickering over a toy between my two preschool age children echoes down the hallway, I restrain my impulse to shout, “Get over yourself; it’s all God’s anyway!”
Living out the principles of Biblical sharing is complex, especially when the natural inclination in all of us is toward selfishness. Every two year old declares a toy, “mine.” For me to ask my preschool age children to master sharing would be like directing them to ski a double black diamond mogul run.
Sharing is a matter of the heart.
In my mind I ponder, “How do I impart a willingness to share in their hearts?”
I condition my children to share by offering consequence if they don’t. I reassure them the toy will return to their care in a set amount of time. I guard the prized toy. And yes, I’ve come to learn, crafty techniques like this work, somewhat. But I haven’t addressed the real issue – the heart.
You know the adage, you can lead a horse to water but, you can’t make them drink. Well, I can lead my three year old to perform sharing behaviors but only God can change her heart.
Stimulating a young mind to have a sincere heart to want to share begins with me sharing. I speak about and regularly demonstrate the benefits of my eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God as a disciple of Jesus. I offer them the opportunity to share in its benefits too.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
The playgrounds of life often reinforce the natural inclination to focus on self – posturing for power, perusing for celebrity and bestowing wealth. To yield unselfishly to another is to show weakness. There really is no durable inspiration to share other than Christ at work in our heart.
When we share Christ’s love with our children, He will begin to renovate their heart to produce willingness. As they begin to follow Jesus as the 12 disciples did, they will initiate these 5 principles of Biblical sharing in their lives:
S – SERVANTHOOD – Your children will value being a servant to all.
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” – Mark 9:35
H – HUMILITY – In humility, they will consider others better than themselves.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
A – ADORATION – Over time they will grow and mature to adore others; love gives.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” – 2 Peter 1:5-7
R – REMEMBRANCE – They will remember Jesus’ great love for them, frequently. As they experience His outpouring of mercy and grace, they too will offer mercy and grace. They will choose to act like He does giving generously of their time, talents, and treasures.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:36
E – ENLIGHTENED – They will embody the hope of eternal life giving freely of themselves and their treasures to those in need.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” — Ephesians 1:18
Written by Edy Sutherland
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