The Cure to My Miserly Ways?

Last week I was over at Mom It Forward talking about an idea Jake and I had to give back to others and ultimately model that mentality to Ainsley. We’re calling it our Blessing Jar. Here’s the back-story on how it came about:

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It’s easy to ignore my ugly qualities when I’m the only person affected by them. But when my kid is involved, that’s another story.

One of my biggest struggles is giving financially. In fact, years ago I took one of those online spiritual gifts tests and guess what showed up at the very bottom of my results list? Giving. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit actually.

It’s just really hard for me to give money away when Jake and I have so much debt. It feels like we will never get it paid off. Plus, I associate money with a sense of security. That’s always been the case so I can’t blame the outrageous cost of college admissions for that. In order for me to feel safe, I need to know we have plenty of money in the bank.

Now that I have a kid, I am realizing I may need to rethink things. I don’t want giving to be dead last on my daughter’s list of anything. Not last in her mind. Not last in her heart. I want her to be generous. But that’s wherein the problem lies. How will she ever learn generosity if she has the least financially-giving mom ever? I had been reflecting on this question for a while, when suddenly on Facebook, a possible solution appeared.

Several people shared the link to “The 52-Week Money Challenge” on a blog called The House Made Home. They talked about how this would be such an easy way to save up for something fun or add some cushion to our bank accounts. Every week you save a little bit of money starting with $1. The next week you save $2. And so on. By the time the year ends you will have saved $1,378.

Jake and I decided this was doable. A dollar here, two dollars there. We started dreaming about what we could spend the money on. A weekend getaway or a shopping spree?

Well, back to the problem I have with giving money away. I need to improve on this. I need to change my whole perspective so that I can be a better role model for Ainsley. I want her eyes to be open so that she is aware of the needs not only in our neighborhood but also around the world. I want her to believe that she has the power to make things better. This encompasses all kinds of things – not just money – but that is one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Right around the time that we made the decision to save up more for ourselves, my MOPS group did a craft. We made Blessing Jars. They are little plastic containers that we decorated during our meeting and could use for whatever we want. We talked about using them for ticket stubs and other random keepsakes or writing down date ideas and drawing one each week for date nights. These are all great ideas but it hit me later that one way we could use the jar would be to collect money and give it away instead of spending it on ourselves, as tempting as that is. It just made sense. We had already decided to do the 52 Week Challenge but instead of keeping the $1,378 we would donate it.

And that’s when our very own idea of a Blessing Jar idea was born.

We made the decision to practice what we hope to eventually pass on to our daughter. We are going to use the money for the good of another person or perhaps many other people and make it a yearly tradition.

As much as it pains me to give money away – and as much as it pains to me say that it pains me – I am looking forward to the challenge. I hope this can be a stepping-stone to becoming a more generous giver. And, that as my baby girl grows up, she not only sees this lifestyle but that she desires to emulate it.

Do you have any yucky traits that you are trying to change since becoming a parent?

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