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 | Chris Kreslins

A letter to parents regarding stewardship for children

I have childhood memories of seeing my dad at the kitchen table on Sunday morning writing a check, placing it in the parish envelope, and bringing it with us to Mass. Later that morning, I would see the collection baskets being passed through the pews and that envelope, which my dad prepared earlier that morning, being placed in the basket as it passed by. 

I’m grateful for the example of giving that my own father gave me as a child. Now, as a father myself, I would like to be that example to my children. I would also like to foster a charitable and giving heart in my children by helping them understand why this is so important to be a good steward. Our children need to know that they are created by God and all they have is a gift from God. Their families, homes, friends, toys, church, etc ... are all gifts from God. In return, God asks us to be thankful, prayerful, and good stewards of what God has given them. The Office of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Spokane has recently created a children’s giving envelope for Mass. The envelope is more than something to put their nickels and dimes in — It is a tool that parents can use to help cultivate stewardship in their children. The envelope focuses on three areas where children can give back to God.

• Time with God other than attending Sunday Mass.

• How can they use their talents to help at home, church, or school during the week?

• Weekly gift of the child’s own money.

The idea is that you sit down with your young children and go through these three ideas. Then your child can write on the envelope how they plan to give back to God in each area. Your child may decide to give back to God in ways like the following:

• Saying evening prayers before going to bed.

• Keeping their room clean all week long.

• Placing some of their own money in the envelope (depends on age and allowance).

This allows our children to prayerfully consider how God is blessing their lives and how they plan to give back to God. The conversation with your child will change as they grow older, get paid for odd jobs in the neighborhood and begin their first job.

A couple of things forming your children in stewardship are not:

• It is not a way for the parish to bring in more money during the collection.

• It is not a way for parents to empty their spare change or supply their children with a few dollars. It is more important for a child to put in a nickel, dime, or quarter from his or her own allowance and feel proud of that contribution than putting in a dollar from mom or dad’s wallet, which would not have as much meaning to the child.

Visit and print the graphics found on the page to help your child create and fill out the “giving” envelope. Use them to have conversations with your children. Then have your child put their “treasure” portion in the general giving envelopes found in most parishes.