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“I do not like anonymous giving!” {written by Misha}

January 14, 2011

That is what one of our kids announced to us with strong emotion and loud decibels.

It is not the first time they had expressed that. And although we’ve talked about the reasons why they feel that way, we had still wondered what to say. After all, facilitating anonymous giving is what we do with our lives!

They had some really valid points. When the giving is not anonymous, then they get the credit for being kind. And, they explained, they get to be excited with the person. And even sometimes share the gift with them!

Each thing they said made us smile, but it also was understandable. Some giving does increase relationship, encouragement and sharing. We know that first hand!

Still, we wanted them to see what made us excited about what “Dad does at the office every day, ” too. So we came up with a plan. Every bit of income we got during the month before Christmas we set aside ten percent for our children to give away. We would give it as a Happy Birthday gift to Jesus  – and we would watch and see if there was someone we noticed and thought he would want us to give it to.

They could designate  it to whoever they wanted. The only hitch was they had to give it through Giving Anonymously. And they had to keep it a secret.

It turned out to be one of the most precious parts of our Christmas ever. Some gifts were just five dollars, some ten or twenty. But with each gift we clandestinely let them decide who to give it to and then waited with huge excitement to hear what the recipient would say on their voicemail. In the in-between time we prayed for that person as a family.

And oh my. Some of those voice mails we ended up getting, there was not a dry eye in our house! We played them for Grandpa and Grandma, we played them more than once, we all gathered around the computer, hunched together on the couch listening to someone we loved so much explaining how their gift made them feel.

And it wasn’t about them knowing it was us. They felt loved, they felt noticed and often they were definitely curious. But we – as a family – now had a secret. And suddenly for our child it wasn’t about getting the credit anymore. It was about how precious it was to share generously with someone else  – and to hear their unvarnished emotions as they shared back with us how it made them feel.

No one knew it was a child giving to them so no one talked down to them. A couple of people thanked God. And all of them – collectively –  changed our child’s heart.

It changed our experience of giving as a family for ever, too. We highly recommend people doing this with their kids now. It’s one thing to teach our children about the joy in generosity. It’s a whole other thing when they catch it for themselves!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2011 5:44 pm

    What a creative and fun way to get kids involved in giving. To teach them about the joy and simplicity of giving and how one small action can evoke such powerful responses is absolutely priceless.

  2. Barbara R. Thompson permalink
    January 22, 2011 9:56 pm

    Love it! What a precious and creative learning experience for the children.

  3. rita pretorius permalink
    February 2, 2011 11:42 am

    You are amazing! May the Lord continue to give so that they (and you!) can give away!

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