So often, when people think about generosity, they start thinking of dollar signs and checks with zeroes. In training your descendants about the full experience of generosity, how can you be intentional about backing up that process to create a truly generous spirit in your family?
The first step is to define the purpose for your generosity. Once you have successfully done this, you will be equipped to identify and understand what drives your generosity. And then you will be able to explain it to those you are closest to. A few questions can help in this process:
- Which philanthropic issues are you most interested in, and which are you least interested in?
- What do you most appreciate about the organizations you currently give to?
- Which parts of your giving habits would you want future generations to carry on?
These questions can continue to be revisited throughout your generosity journey. It should always be a dynamic process to refine based off what you learn and where God continues to lead. Make sure you keep the same guiding vision.
Secondly, remember that practice make perfect. You and your family can continue to practice generosity for the rest of your lives, continually making adjustments to how you give or what causes you give to. For example, you can test out different methods: giving percentages to particular causes, setting aside a certain dollar amount for spontaneous giving each month, or allowing your children to make grant recommendations through the year.
No matter how you choose to give, it is important to set aside time to review and evaluate your giving habits. Just because you have always done something a certain way does not necessarily mean that should continue. Figure out what works uniquely best for you and those you are gathering around your generosity plan. (Learn more about one Giving Circle’s approach here.)
Another simple practice to take part in is to be engaged with the ministries you support in a hands-on way. Beyond your financial support, show up and volunteer at local efforts, ask to talk with a board member, or come observe the ministry in action. Getting to see the real-life stories allows you to become more invested in the impact. Be a whole-life partner.
Lastly, engage your family in times of celebration. Consider how God commanded the Israelites to set up piles of stones as an altar to commemorate His wondrous acts. You can use the same concept and set aside your own time to create an “altar of remembrance.” You could write down stories, create a photo album, or even build your own mini stone memorial with memories written on them. Create an intentional space to tell the stories of what God has done. Make it a time of joyful exuberance, whether that is throwing a family party or having a special reunion time together. Intentionally call out specific victories and recognize what God made possible.
By creating a purpose statement, practicing generosity with intentionality, and celebrating milestones as a family, you can build a culture of generosity that surpasses mere finances. What is your dream for your family to carry on generations down the line? Fix that goal in your mind, and work towards it in as many ways as you can. Each step further solidifies the vision.