Helping Our Kids Relinquish Their Stuff

Giving can be so hard. Just ask my daughter…

The Realization

This week my wife and I realized we have kids’ play things  stashed away in closets – toys not used in years by our daughters.  As we took an inventory, it was pretty evident that our girls had outgrown the dolls, games and other items. We figured some younger kids would be thrilled to have the play things, so obviously it ought to go!

Well – obvious to us. It was not quite true to one of my darling daughters. Now, before I get on my high horse, I must admit that it’s always a lot easier to say what someone else should give up. Not a doubt in my mind  - there are things of mine stashed away in this house that I haven’t used in two years – still sitting there.

Taking stock

Having said that, let’s get back to my girl. We bring the treasures out into the light and suggest maybe it’s time for them to go.

Protest.

“Honey, these things were great for awhile, but you don’t use them any more.”

Silence.

We try going down the road of: “Remember how much you enjoyed them when you were younger? Just imagine how much other young kids would be thrilled when their mom or dad brings these things home from the thrift store!”

Quiet sobs for a few minutes.

We talk about the concept of blessing – how God gives us so many good things and how that example motivates us to give good things to others. “We don’t give our leftover, worn-out things, we give good things to bless others. Would you be more blessed by a box of your favorite tea from the store or a box of teabags somebody used already and collected for you?”

Not so much as a blink in response.

Decision Time

Thinking we’ve talked too long – now it’s time to act. We take the slow, sullen walk into the room with the toys all laid out. By the expression on her face, you would have thought her things were lined up in front of a firing squad and the command to execute was about to be given.

“Honey, we’re not going to make you give it all away, we want this to come from your heart. You choose what to give.”

After giving her some space – slowly, she starts to let things go. Not all, but some.

So Why is it so Hard for Us to Give?

One of the things I love about parenting is how much insight it gives into my world, and how much it proves true how God describes our human condition. This reluctance to give is so where we’re at.

It’s estimated that we spend $22 billion per year just to put our extra stuff into storage units. Laid side-by-side these storage units would cover 78 square miles (source i-Donate). Why do we hold onto what we don’t even use? We’re not coming close to talking about the biblical call to sacrificial giving here. We have trouble with giving our extra stuff!

If, like me, you have extra things, why don’t we start some giving there? Those things which are just stuff to us, weighing us down, slowly deteriorated by moth, rust and thieves – those things could be turned into real value for Kingdom work.

Food for the Hungry (FH) partners with i-Donate who liquidates all kinds of stuff, so that FH can use the proceeds for transforming poverty. Turn vehicles, computers, boats, old smart phones into safe water, care for AIDS sufferers, relationships that share God’ truth and love. Simply go to our i-Donate site, watch the video, and consider what stuff you might turn into ministry.

 

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About Sean Mills

Married with 2 fine daughters 8 yrs. of service with Food for the Hungry My passion - to help stewards honor God with what He's placed in their hands.

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