You might’ve noticed that I’m passionate about teaching children to be wise stewards of their money and possessions. Youth who understand how to manage their resources grow up to be culture-changing adults who exhibit thankfulness, avoid debt, and give generously.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be writing a series of articles on this topic; changing the culture by teaching the next generation. Today’s post is the first in this series. The second article is about teaching the next generation that people are more important than possessions, and the third explores the relationship between time and money.
As Americans with internet access, we are some of the richest people in the world. I want to present an idea to you for introducing the concept to our children that the world is vast and diverse. Ready?
We have a strong tendency from birth to assume that the world revolves around our needs and desires. Exploring other cultures doesn’t eradicate our selfishness completely, but it does encourage us to broaden our horizons and to consider others.
At our house we examine world cultures by reading books, watching movies, and viewing photographs. We also study countries by engaging in opportunities to give financially and to pray. Someday I hope to travel with my children so that they can experience these cultures first hand.
We have an amazing opportunity during the holiday season to put off selfishness and teach our children to love others. We can do this by shopping through organizations that offer goods from fairly paid workers.
We can also “buy” items to be used to help the poor and needy. These purchases are donations that are promoted in a way that encourages the doner to connect to the recipient.
We can change the culture by teaching the next generation that the world is vast and diverse, and that other people have needs too.
- Authentic Justice – “These items are made to provide income to women rescued out of human trafficking, slavery, domestic abuse, persecution, and war. Your purchase equips them to start a new life and have the hope of providing for their children.”
My Pick: The very berry bracelet in kumquat. I have the same bracelet in another color and I love the way it fits!
- Beloved’s Mercantile – “On a global level, Beloveds partners with the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and works with wholesalers who deal directly with artisan groups in countries around the world.”
My Pick: A felted elephant purse made in Nepal. Super cute!
- Hope International Gift Catalog – “At HOPE International, we invest in the dreams of the poor as we proclaim and live the Gospel in the world’s underserved communities.”
My Pick: Gift A piglet and two chicks to help the farming economy in eastern Europe.
- World Hope Gift Catalog – “World Hope International is a Christian relief & development organization working with vulnerable & exploited communities to alleviate poverty, suffering & injustice.”
My Pick: Provide a goat for a village.
- Samaritans Purse Gift Catalog – “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.”
My Pick: There is an urgent need for Bibles.
- Bright Hope – From their website, “Bright Hope’s mission is to bring Hope to those living on less than $1 a day. We envision a world where under-resourced, local, in-country churches transform their communities and bring Hope to the extreme poor.”
My pick: Provide a sewing machine to a woman in India.
Shopping for cheap goods at a big box store is perfectly fine. Consumers have demanded inexpensive goods, and the worldwide economy has responded.
When it comes to influencing the next generation, it’s helpful to connect hearts and minds by introducing alternative shopping experiences like those listed above. It’s to their benefit to teach children that each of their possessions had a beginning somewhere in the world, and that many human hands were involved in the process.
- Charity Navigator – Charity Navigator rates charities on their financial performance (stewardship) and accountability.
- Fair Trade Shopping Guide – I’m all for cheap goods with prices dictated by the market. Modern day slavery does exist, however, and it’s wise to carefully consider purchases from sectors that encourage poor working conditions (coffee, chocolate, etc.).