Faith234: Building community and cooperation through games.

By The Reverend Christine V. Hides

“Why give us an allowance when you could just buy us the things we want?” asked my daughters when they were in elementary school. In their minds it didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just cut out the weekly ritual of scrounging for cash to give to them when we could just use our credit card when they asked for something?

While there are a wide range of parenting approaches when it comes to children’s allowance, for our family allowance worked well as a tool to begin to learn how to budget. As the girls got older they received increasing amounts of money and necessities that they were responsible for. Starting with a dollar or two to spend as they wished when they began elementary, by middle school they tracked their clothing budget with our help. In high school they receive a lump sum for clothing and activities each semester. My oldest began her freshman year of college this fall and is (at this early stage) making wise spending choices and contributing to her education using what she earned at her summer jobs.

“We are grateful that our family has enough money to buy all that we need, to give money to the church and to charity, and to buy some but not all of the things we want.  Allowance is a tool that we use to teach you how to save and spend money. All that we have is a gift from God and it is our responsibility to learn to use it wisely.” My answer to their questions about allowance remains the same today as it did when they first asked, “why not just buy us what we want?”

Children’s Outreach Sunday, featuring the work of Christopher House, is this Sunday, October 13. We will have a combined chapel service for all ages with a speaker from Christopher House during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday school hour. Parents are welcome to join us in Schmidt Chapel at 11:10 a.m. Children will hear about special service opportunities and how their offering will support the valuable work of Christopher House.

As part of your family conversations about money and giving, I encourage you to have a conversation with your children before this special chapel about the purpose of our children’s offering and how your family will say “thank you” to God with your gifts of time, money and presence. Each Sunday we pass around the offering basket saying, “Everything we have is a gift from God. One of the ways we say thank you to God is by giving generously. Your offering is a way of loving God and loving neighbor.” Throughout last year the children gave over $3,000 to the work of La Casa Norte. Thank you for your continued generosity.

Activities for Practicing Stewardship

  • Use this Family Stewardship Guide created by both the Children’s Ministry and the Stewardship Team of Kenilworth Union Church to learn new ways of loving God and neighbor
  • Visit the Gratitude Art project in the Culbertson Room created by Sunday school children
  • Visit the Kenilworth Union website to make a pledge or to learn more about the “All of Me, All of Us” Stewardship campaign
  • These 18 questions are a great way to start conversations that relate faith and money