A: Already Doing It
— Do you make meals for families who have a sick member of their family, just had a baby, or just suffered a loss? That’s stewardship!
— Do you volunteer your time at school, church, or in the community? That’s stewardship!
— Do you tithe on Sunday? That’s stewardship!
— Do you pass on used clothes, household items, or toys to other families or persons in need? That’s stewardship!
— Do you or your child give $2 on Fund-a-Friend day at school to help a cause in need? That’s stewardship!
Many of us donate our time, talents, and treasures everyday, forgetting that in doing so we are stewards of God’s great gifts!
B: Birthday Stewardship Party. A wonderful example of being God’s steward is by hosting a Birthday Stewardship Party. For example, throw a “charity” birthday party for your child’s birthday. Children can bring new or gently used items instead of gifts. Allow the birthday boy or girl to select an organization to help. Also, take him or her along when you donate the items. Did you know that some of the 4th grade students at St. Matthew School have been hosting birthday parties for our sister school in Haiti since the first grade? In place of birthday gifts, they have collected monetary donations.
C: Conversations about Stewardship.How do we talk to our kids about stewardship?
1. Talk with children about the lives of saints and the ways they were good stewards.
2. Help children recognize that stewardship is something we do all the time. It is how we live our lives. Every decision we make about how we use our time or treasure is a stewardship decision.
3. Help children recognize the joy that comes from stewardship. Have your child discuss how they feel when they help someone else. Share your own good feelings about helping and giving.
4. Talk about the building up of the church throughout the world and the role stewardship plays in hospitals, schools, churches, and our community.
D: Definition. Stewardship: A way of living each day in gratitude for all the blessings God has given to us. Everything we have comes from God.
E: Envelopes. Use Envelopes! There is something tangible and concrete about using offering envelopes that a child can easily grasp. It’s almost like wrapping a present for Jesus. Grab some children’s envelopes from our ABC table in the gathering space or have your children decorate their own envelopes. Then REMEMBER the envelopes when you come to Mass and have your child bring them forward at offertory to the basket near the altar (except for Christmas and Easter seasons), or place the envelope in the basket as it is passed!
F: French Fries and Stewardship. Watch this video with your kids for a delicious demonstration of what stewardship looks like and what God wants us to do with our blessings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuprGFcGv9g
G: God’s Jar: Saving for God. We can probably all agree that teaching our children to start saving money when they are young is a good habit. We can teach our kids to save for the future and to save for God at the same time! Give your children 2 containers to decorate: You can use jars, old shoe boxes, cleaned out paint cans, etc. Gather art supplies such as paint, glue, markers, decorative scrapbook paper, stickers, or whatever art supplies they love, and let them decorate each container to their heart’s content. Have them label one container with their name and label the other container “God’s Jar.” For every $1 your children earn from allowance, babysitting, gifts, etc., have them place a dime in God’s Jar and the rest in their own container. Each Sunday they can take half of the money in God’s Jar and put it in a children’s offering envelope at church. If they don’t have money on any particular week, have them write a note of thanks to God about something for which they are grateful and place it in the envelope.
H: How does your child feel when he or she helps someone? Talk about it! Encourage your child to discuss how it feels when he or she helps someone, donates a toy, or gives some of their allowance to the church. Model for your child by sharing your own feelings about helping others. You could also ask the following questions:
— Do you think you would like to give again?
— What did you like about….?
— Do you have any ideas how we could help someone else?
By helping children identify and talk about the joy that comes from stewardship, children can learn that real happiness cannot be found in possessions.
I: Implement a Family Stewardship Prayer. Consider adding a family stewardship prayer to your daily or weekly routine. You could use the following prayer or find another that suits your family better.
Dear God, I thank you for everything you have given me. My gifts of time and talents are precious; help me realize that I need to share all my gifts with the Church and others. Help me be generous, forgiving, and holy. I offer you this day all I think, and do, and say. With the help of Jesus, your Son, I will try to love everyone. Amen
J: Just look at this example of children being great stewards.
K: Kind Acts = Great Stewardship
When you see an act of kindness happening, be sure to share with your child how that is stewardship.
— See someone share a toy…that’s kind and that’s stewardship.
— See someone recycle something…that’s kind and that’s stewardship.
— See someone helping someone in need…that’s kind and that’s stewardship.
More to come…