How old do you have to be to practice stewardship?
Can a 5-year-old embrace stewardship? How about a 10-year-old?
Although there is no guideline to what the right age is to begin to live a life of stewardship, God’s call certainly extends to each of His children — even the young ones.
It is especially important to show children that they are not too young to share their time, talent and treasure to help build God’s kingdom.
Sharing Your Time
A young child can share of his time in a variety of ways appropriate to his ability. For example, during the day, a child can pray for a loved one that is hurt, or say prayers with his parents or siblings. He can participate in Mass each Sunday, and even take time from his day to thank God for a veteran who has served our country.
Spending time being virtuous — such as being patient, generous and kind — is also a great example of sharing our time for love of God.
Sharing Your Talent
Using God-given talents to glorify God can also be performed by both young and old. An elementary school-age child can easily clean her room or perform chores such as raking leaves, doing laundry or taking care of pets. Making cards for people who are sick or who have had a death in the family are other concrete examples of being a faithful steward.
Even using our talents — such as playing a musical instrument or football — to the best of our abilities to give God glory is an example of being a good steward.
Sharing Your Treasure
Although children do not have the same type of treasure to share as adults, instilling the importance of sharing finances is an important lesson.
If a child receives an allowance, he can return a portion of it to the Church in the collection basket. If he gets money for his birthday, he can give a small portion of it back to God in thanksgiving. Little ones can even share things like their Halloween candy with their siblings or friends as a way of demonstrating generosity.
The Most Important Lesson
Above all, the most important lesson to teach our children is why we share. We don’t share because we “have to.” We don’t share because our parents tell us to. We share our time, talent and treasure with God because we are thankful for the blessings He has given us and we want to thank Him for His generosity.
Teaching these lessons at a young age will allow a lifetime of good stewardship to follow for even the youngest of God’s children.