Northridge Kids

Kids and Generosity

Who wouldn't love swimming in a pool full of money?

One of my favorite shows as an elementary kid was Duck Tales. In the show, the main character Scrooge McDuck would frequently be attacked by the villain Magica De Spell and her goons, the Beagle Boys. Episode after episode, Scrooge was put in scenarios where he had to decide between the love of his money and the love of his nephews. Scrooge's love of money affected the decisions he made. 

Like Scrooge McDuck, money affects the way each of us lives. It is an important tool for living and navigating life.

Fortunately, the Bible has much to say about money including its ability to control our decisions and its use as an indication of where we are in our faith journey. Because of the importance the Bible places on money and our duty to motivate each other toward love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), we think it's necessary to help kids begin thinking about how they use money while they are young. 

At Northridge Kids, we think there are three ways kids can practice making wise decisions now, in order to help set them in the right direction for the future. 

1. SAVE

Saving is simply the practice of putting money aside for future goals, needs and wants. The Bible tells us when we save, even just a little bit at a time, it will eventually turn into much for a time of want or need at a later day (Proverbs 13:11).

We encourage kids to find or, yes, buy a piggy bank (isn't funny you sometimes have to spend money to save money) in order to create a rhythm of putting the money they receive aside for another day. As a parent, helping your kids set goals for what their money should go toward is one way you can help encourage this skill in their life.      

2. SHARE  

We don't think that you should give ALL of your money away, but that by giving some of it away you're demonstrating your trust in God. Sharing allows us to be a part of what God is doing our church and show his love to others by meeting needs. 

Money is more than giving, it’s a tool for loving.

At Northridge Kids, we encourage kids to share regularly as a recognition of our thankfulness to God for his provision. However, we also encourage kids to share through our giving projects that take place throughout the year. Our goal is to show God's love by meeting needs to other kids in our church, community and even around the world. For example, our current project is called A Ton of Love and our goal is to collect one ton (2000 pounds) of food in order to help fill the emergency food pantry of Cameron Community Ministries. Check out this video for more info and don't forget to bring in food before February 26! 

As a parent, you can teach your kids the value of sharing by helping them save with sharing in mind. You can also practice sharing by encouraging them to give away something that's theirs. That could include giving a portion of money they've earned or received, or donating something that's of value to them to someone in need.  

We don't expect kids to give everything, but we encourage them to give something. 

3. SPEND   

Money and our ability to enjoy it is a gift from God. That's exactly what the Bible calls it (Ecclesiastes 5:19). It's OK to spend the money we have to buy something that we want or need.

When we talk about spending in HighPoint, we... 

  • Warn them not to spend more than we have or we'll end up owing people that we can't pay back.
  • Talk about being careful that spending money doesn't become a way we try to make ourselves happy. We remind them that only God creates joy in our lives.
  • Encourage them to thank God for what they buy because it should remind them that God cares for them and provides for them. 

It's just a reality that kids pattern what they see in their parents. So as parents, one way to demonstrate wise spending is to take a moment and thank God for something your family purchases as a gift from God that helps us see he loves us and provides for us. 

While few of us will ever be able to swim in a bin full of money like Scrooge McDuck, each of us as leaders of our home can talk to our kids about how money affects their lives. By emphasizing these three actions: save, share and spend, we think that you'll provide a good framework for how your kids will relate to money and use it as a tool in their lives.   

Value #5: Engagement

Kids eat with their eyes. 

 

If their pizza doesn't come in the right shape, it's rejected.

If their mac and cheese is the wrong color, it's refused. 

If their portion of pasta is too large, it's rubbish. 

 

When food doesn't look the way it's supposed to look, we get suspicious. Some even get sick.  

It's the exact same food. It has the exact same taste. 

It just has a different presentation. 

For example...

Did you know that carrots come in colors other than orange?

I didn't. 

At least not until one of my friends posted the above picture on his social accounts last summer.

My mind was blown. 

Then later that summer, I read that orange carrots didn't even exist until the 17th Century. Shocker! A group of Dutch farmers honored their king, William of Orange by developing carrots in their country's color...orange.*

That's true patriotism! 

I thought I was doing good by buying an Old Navy flag tee once a year. I guess I was wrong. 

Presentation matters not only in the food preparation but also when it comes to teaching kids the Bible.

Because...

How you say what you say is as important as what you say!
— Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A purple carrot tastes exactly the same as an orange carrot. Nothing about the carrot has changed except it's appearance or in another term, it's presentation. 

At Northridge Kids, we are in the presentation business. Not presentation for the sake of presentation itself, but presentation in order to engage the heart and mind of kids and motivate them to acting out the truths of the Bible. This is what we refer to as life change.  

We don't think we've done our job when we've merely presented truth. Content by itself is not enough. 

Americans live in a culture that's flooded with content. The average elementary student spends an average of 35 hours a week ingesting content from technology on TVs, iPads and gaming devices. 

The church has to cut through the cultural clutter by presenting content, biblical truth, that is accurate, clear and compelling. This type of content captures the attention of everyone. Including kids. 

Cutting through the cultural clutter is what Disney has been able to do with its princess story lines in movies like Cinderella, Brave and The Little Mermaid. My daughter will sit and watch those movies on repeat all day. Then she'll go and pretend that she is one of those characters. That's engagement! Disney, captures our attention and moves our imagination to action. And they even provide tools that help us engage our imaginations...toys.  

While Northridge Kids may never produce a full-length animated movie, we want to tell the stories of the Bible in such a way that kids hear, understand, and are moved to take action on what they hear. We want kids to want to come back every Sunday because they're hearing something unique, the story of God, being told in a unique way. 

We want to capture kids' attention in order to tell God's story. And when we do, we call it: engagement. 

There are three ways we seek to engage your kids each week. 

1. STORIES

We think it's a sin to bore kids with the Bible. 

Northridge Kids' hosts and storytellers work hard, investing literally hours, to accurately and creatively teach the Bible using technology, illustrations and applications that best makes sense with each kid's stage of life. 

When we get this right, kids are able to pay attention to what we're teaching in order to best hear what God is saying. 

2. ACTIVITIES

Every week, the leaders of each of environment selects activities (such as games, role play or crafts) that further illustrate and reinforce the story that was presented. 

While we try not to overwhelm parents with too many papers (or popsicle sticks) on any given Sunday, when we do send home a paper or project, please remember that it is a tool that was used in your child's environment to reinforce the story. That craft wasn't merely used to fill the time allotment for that Sunday. These projects, whatever their level of artistic value, can be one more tool you can utilize in your family's weekly rhythm to discuss with you what they learned that week, especially for the preK kids in your house.  

3. DISCUSSIONS

When our volunteers and Small Group Leaders talk with the kids in their environments, they are reinforcing the lesson by interacting with and asking questions of each kid. These interactions help: gauge what each child learned, hear how it is impacting them, encourage them to take the next steps and even to pray for courage for your child to obey God.

If you have any questions about what conversations are taking place in your child's environment, ask them, "what did you learn today," on your drive home. Or feel free to ask a volunteer serving in your child's environment at pick up.  This connection is one more way we love to demonstrate that we are partners with you, the parent. 

Storytelling is...searching for the best way to frame and communicate an idea.
— Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

Who knows? I may never have the courage to eat purple carrots. The presentation is just too weird for my brain. 

Plums are purple. Grapes are purple. Eggplants are purple. 

Carrots are orange. 

Regardless of what I eat, our commitment to parents at Northridge, our partners, is that we will work as hard as we can to tell the most important story, in the most engaging way possible. And as we prepare, we'll be praying that God will use us to motivate your kids to faith in action. 

Presentation matters. 

 

*Orange Essentials by Reggie Joiner, 30.