Giving for Beginners

We've recently started giving the kids an allowance. We bought them Moon jars from Mrs. Tiggy Winkles'. Moon jars are three triangular canisters that fit together and have a band to hold them together. The three canisters are labelled 'spend', 'save', and 'share'. I wasn't sure how difficult it would be to convince the kids to divert a portion of their allowance into the 'share' jar, but they were quite receptive. Angus and I have been looking through the World Vision catalogue. He's intrigued by the mosquito nets -- he's keen on donating some and he also thinks it wouldn't be a bad idea to get one for his bed, since he thinks he might have seen a few suspicious-looking mosquitos around and he's been feeling distinctly malaria-susceptible lately. He doesn't want to do the bunnies or guinea pigs -- he's willing to admit that in certain cases they might need to be eaten, but he'd rather not be directly responsible for delivering them to certain consumption. 

photo credit
creative commons license

Last week our school had a Christmas Bazaar where people donated stuff that kids could then buy for one to five dollars and have wrapped. I gave the kids ten dollars each, and when they came home, since it was Friday (allowance day) I told them they could just have their change for an allowance. Angus looked at his four dollars and seventy-five cents and said, a bit regretfully, 'okay, charity only gets seventy-five cents this week'.
My sister, whose house in London we're going to for Christmas, called me the other day to tell me she'd asked my five-year-old nephew what he wanted for Christmas and he said "I just wanted my Evie to come, and she is, so I'm happy". On the way home from piano lessons yesterday, Eve said "I know Christmas is supposed to be about spending time with your family and friends and stuff.... but it's hard for kids to resist the presents!" Sigh.

The first time we told Eve that giving was actually more fun than getting, she laughed the biggest, rudest, most disbelieving HAAAAAA ha you've ever heard. But she's more excited about what she bought me at the Bazaar than about anything she's getting (she did let slip that it was 'a kind of jewelry' before slapping her hands over her mouth and running away).

We're getting there. Slooooooooowly.


Mary Lynn said…
I've been curious about the spend/save/share distribution for allowances. On the one hand, I like the idea of encouraging kids to give to those in need, but on the other hand I wasn't sure if cajoling them into it was the way to go, or if it might perhaps have the opposite effect of making them resentful. Nice to hear that you've at least had positive results.

I do think kids have to be a certain age to really get into giving to others. The other day Hana was madly searching her room for some toy. When I finally asked her what she was looking for it turned out it was one we'd given to GoodWill. I reminded her that she said she'd said she didn't want it anymore and we could give it to kids without toys. She had NO recollection of this conversation and was quite upset with me no matter how much I assured her that this had been done with her approval.

Oh well. Baby steps...
Mary Lynn said…
Oy, I think I stuttered a bit in there. My brain and my typing don't always connect as they should.
Anonymous said…
There has been a Salvation Army bell-ringer outside of the grocery store for the last week or so. Today I gave my almost-5-year-old a loonie to put in the jar. She asked what it was for, and I explained it was for people who didn't have much money. She declared that SHE didn't have much money, and wanted to keep the loonie. Heart warming, really heart warming. Except, not.
Magpie said…
It's a hard thing to learn. I let my daughter pick out little gifts for each of her three cousins. As we were wrapping them, she rather covetously said that one was for "sharing". I think she secretly wants it to keep...

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