Grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends love to shower our children with money at the Eids, and some on their birthdays. We appreciate their kindness, because it brings joy and sweet memories to the giver and the receiver, but the problem arises not in the act of giving, but by the outcome of the receiver. A day later, the only thing your kids want to do, is spend all their money on toys or candy for themselves, and you’re left thinking, “They already have way too many toys and definitely don’t need more candy!”
The rest of the year, our kids may not be receiving much money and so they really don’t understand the value of things. They may beg, complain and whine for more clothes and more toys, when in reality, there isn’t another inch left in their closet or room for more stuff! You wonder,
“Don’t they understand how expensive things are now a days?”, “Why are my children not satisfied with what they have?”, “How do I teach my children to be content with what Allah (swt) has blessed them with?”, “Can I instill compassion in my children so they may share their blessings with others?”, “Where do I start?!”
Here are some things to think about when trying to explain money management with a dose of compassion to your kids:
Teach Them How They Can Earn Money
In order for your child to learn how to manage their money, they need to have passed step #1, which is to earn their money right under your nose! Please refer to my article 4 Reasons Why I Give My Kids An Allowance. Once they have some savings and have split it into 3 parts, now they can focus on the giving part.
Charities That Move Your Child
Paying for an Orphan’s Monthly Expense
The other day, I was reminded by a sweet friend, about taking care of an orphan. This act is highly encouraged in our blessed deen. Sahl bin Sa’d (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said,
“I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan.” The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of illustration. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
I began, by speaking to my children and explaining to them what a child goes through when they are an orphan. I asked them how it would feel if they had no mama or papa or both parents to take care of them. We read a few stories and watched a show about it. Tears streamed from my eyes, and without any more words, they understood how I felt. It’s good to show your innermost feelings to your children, it has a great impact on your kids and is more powerful than words can ever be.
Many times our children have specific questions about orphans. Try not to answer all of them. Instead have them write a letter to the organization they wish to donate towards. My second oldest son wrote a letter and explained who he was, how and why he decided to donate his money. He also wrote down all the questions he had. After a few months he received a personal letter with a picture from a child that resided at the orphanage! My children were so happy to see it and they felt really close to this child, because they saw how their kindness had made a difference, and that this was a real child just like them. This touched them deeply, and ever since then, my children make an effort to raise some money amongst each other to pay for the expense of one orphan every month. This is how we do it:
After some research, we realized that the cost of caring for an orphan in a third world country is about $30-$60 per month. We take an empty envelope and write on it, ‘Monthly Orphan Collection’. One of my kids volunteers to collect whatever each child would like to donate. I have 4 children, and amongst them we collect about $10-$15 per month, after which mama puts in whatever is needed to make up the total, and off it goes. May Allah (swt) always remind us to take care of the orphans and reward us all when we do it, ameen.
There are many other charities that have noble causes behind their work. Some which we have been a part of are concerned with taking care of our earth. These organizations work hard to fight for a greener world, cleaning the oceans and stopping big companies from cutting down too many trees. You can become a true steward of our beautiful world, by searching the web for non-profit organizations that work hard to take care the earth. There will be options of either helping through donation or volunteering a few hours to make a huge difference.
Volunteering Both Of Your Time To A Great Cause
Some of the places which allow children to help are:
Park clean up days
Your favorite park has ‘clean up days’ scheduled with specific times. They would love to have you and your little ones volunteer a couple of hours to help out.
Abu Zarr Al-Ghafari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (sadaqah).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Soup kitchens or cooking for others
Soup kitchens are a great place for kids to volunteer. If your child is too young to volunteer, then have them help you cook meals for a soup kitchen. Call and find out which ones have this option.
They can also help you prepare a meal for a neighbor, a new mom (who’s blessed with a baby), someone ill or injured, or just someone who is in need of a warm meal. The best way to know what’s going on, is being part of an email list of your local masjid or join a group online.
Or, how about the next time your kids visit their grandparents, they take along a sweet, warm cake that you all baked together. The experience is priceless and the joy that comes with it is even greater. These are the charities that they will remember for the rest of their lives InshAllah.
Volunteering or giving to a Mosque
Check out your community masjid and you may be pleasantly surprised to see how much there is for you and your child. The following are just a few that I’ve come across:
- Donate to Coat and Blanket Drives in the winter
- All throughout the year there are big barrels that you can fill with canned food to feed the homeless
- Sign up to volunteer to help clean or renovate your masjid, even reminding the kids to pick up after themselves in Allah’s House, is a beautiful act of charity
- Both you and your child can help organize and prepare fun activities for all the children in the community on the following days as an alternative to Halloween, Christmas or New Year, a great way to have fun and not feel left out.
- Don’t forget to sign up via email to be informed of all the events and activities that goes on at your Mosque
Remember that the challenge with volunteering and giving is not allowing yourself to delay the act for another day or by second-guessing yourself.
Abu Hureira reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Allah will give shade, to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His. (These seven persons are) a just ruler, a youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah (i.e. worships Allah sincerely from childhood), a man whose heart is attached to the mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation), two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only, a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah, a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity), and a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears.” (Hadith 1:629)
Make your intention to help and give and don’t think twice, for if you do, you will come-up with all kinds of excuses like, “Is this a valid charity?”, “How much of my money goes to the actual cause?”, “Are they really taking care of the needy?”, “Will this feed Muslims?”. Forget about all these questions and instead, make your intention to do a charitable act and leave the details of reward or validity up to Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) reward us for our intentions to do good, even if it’s with the smallest amount, ameen.
Charity in the home
Performing charity with our money and time outside of the home is always a great way to help others and be good Muslims who are caring and loving of Allah’s (swt) Creation. Our beloved Prophet (saw) is the best example of this. Let us not forget the people right next to us. Charity begins at home with our loved ones too.
Abu Huraira (radi Allahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) as saying:
“Of the dinar (money) that you spend as a contribution in Allah’s path, or to set free a slave, or as charity given to a needy, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spend on your family.” [Sahih Muslim]
Narrated Abu Huraira (radi Allahu anhu): Allah’s Apostle (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said,
“The best alms is that which you give when you are rich, and you should support your dependants first.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Therefore, one must not neglect those who are closest to you – your family. Providing for those basic needs of one’s family, is an obligation on the father, for which he is highly rewarded, but to spend a little extra for their comfort or happiness, is also a source of immense reward. In addition, there are many people in one’s extended family (whose condition the relatives should be aware of), if they are not being taken care of, who will look after them? It is therefore told to us that charity begins at home. Remind your children of all the simple charities they can perform for one another, things like:
- Helping their little sibling with homework or chores.
- Sharing their meal or treat with their sibling.
- Taking care of their sibling when they are ill.
- Watering the plants around the home.
- Feeding and taking care of their pets.
- Picking up things off the floor so that it does not cause harm to others.
- Saying something nice, praising one another.
- Showing each other affection by giving a hug or words of encouragement.
Written down charity
My children ask me every Eid what it is that I would like. Their sweet little faces beaming up to please me. They feel they owe it to me because their father and I work so hard to make Eid special for them. All I ask from them is a personalized card, with little hearts and stars that they draw all by themselves. I treasure these little notes of pure love. I encourage them to write a card for their father, the man who works so hard to make their lives comfortable and happy. It’s always nice to hear that you are appreciated and loved. When expressed in words they are lovely, but when written down they place a beautiful mark of affection on one’s heart. Have your children write a ‘Thank You’ card for their father. He will feel appreciated and love it InshAllah!
Last but not least, my favorite of all charities, SMILING and showing a pleasant face to others! May Allah (swt) bless you and your loved ones and place compassion in all ours hearts for one another, ameen!