Almsgiving for Kids

For the past two weeks, I have had articles about prayer and fasting.  This week is dedicated to almsgiving – the last pillar of the Lenten practices.  And it is a beautiful combination of fasting and prayer.   Almsgiving involves prayer because as we give of our resources to others, we keep in mind their needs and sufferings.  Almsgiving involves fasting because we are fasting from spending that money on some other material good.  We are giving sacrificially, just as fasting involves sacrifice.

It has also been said that fasting and almsgiving are the two wings that fly our prayers more swiftly to God.almsgiving

So how do we go about giving alms?  What are alms in the first place?  Alms are defined as food, clothes, money, or other items given to those in need.  How do we teach our kids about almsgiving?  First, we need to point out that not everyone lives like they do.  They need to understand that there are people in our world, in our city, in our own small communities who are in great need.  They are in need of clothes, money, food, and our help.  Next we need to teach them the difference in what we need and what we want.  If we were to look around our house, could we point out items that we want, but do not need?  Could we teach them in their own rooms which things were necessary and which things were just things?  Then we need to take action – helping them to find items that they could sacrifice, helping them opt to eat sandwiches at home rather than stop by McDonalds, and even giving out of their piggy banks for the offering during Lent.

And lastly, we need to lead by example, showing our children how almsgiving plays a role in our own lives, giving our prayers greater wings.

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