All religious traditions have a lot to say about money, wealth, lifestyle, and our responsibilities to each other. But how well are those traditions sharing the lives of the faithful? And how well are they being mined for guidance for young people living in a culture of excessive materialism?
~A quote from Growing Up Generous
What is the role of the faith community in educating about the values and practices of stewardship and generosity?
Take the example of fourteen year old Freddi Zeiler, who realized there were many children in the world who do not have their basic needs for food, shelter, education, and health care met. She grew determined to take action through giving of money, time, and energy to help. Freddi took the initiative to learn about charitable giving, researching charities and how the organizations received and used donated funds.
It was her mother who encouraged Freddi to compile her research into a resource for other kids to learn about charitable giving. With the help and encouragement of her family, a neighbor, and an organization called By Kids For Kids, Freddi put everything together in a book called A Kid’s Guide to Giving.
The processes of learning about stewardship and generosity are developmental, not unlike faith and moral development and other values-based practices. The learning begins in the family and continues throughout a lifetime. The faith community can provide a significant role in messaging and modeling how to be good stewards of our relationships, time, and financial amidst the intensity of a materialistic society that pressures us to spend and consume.
A Kid’s Guide to Giving. Zeiler, Freddi. 2006. Innovative Kids. Kids For Kids Co. provided inspiration and funding support for the project. www.bkfk.com
Growing Up Generous: Engaging Youth in Giving and Serving. Roehlkepartain, Naftali, and Musegades. 2000. The Alban Institute.
The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others. Price, Susan Crites. 2005. Council on Foundations. www.cof.org
Helping Kids Help: Organizing Successful Charitable Projects. Heiss, Renee. 2007. Zephyr Press. www.zephyrpress.com
The Mindset of Wealth for Teens & Parents. Lawrence, G.W. 2nd edition 2008. Kidz 4 Money. www.Kidz4Money.com
The Search Institute has compiled extensive research and resources devoted to helping families, schools, and faith communities discover what children need to succeed in life. Faith communities play an important role in supporting healthy individuals and families. http://www.search-institute.org/content/congregations