Generosity in the Family

April 15th, 2010 @   -  No Comments

Generosity is one of the most important virtues to develop in children. Generosity has always been considered one of the noble qualities that can be found in a person. Our society depends on the generosity of its members for its overall well-being. Generosity can come in many forms, whether it is being generous with money, time, labour, or even sharing something such as information that a person can benefit from.

For example, an elderly lady teaches a group of disadvantaged women to sew for free. She herself is poor, and doesn’t have money to give the women, but she teaches them skills that are far more beneficial to them in the long term. They can use their sewing skills to get jobs and support themselves financially while maintaining their dignity by not having to rely on other people’s handouts.

Generosity can therefore come in many forms, as the Prophet (PBUH) said : “…So let each of you protect himself against Hellfire, be it even with half a date – and if he finds it not, then with a kind word.” (Bukhari).

Even those who do not have much can be generous with a smile or a small kind gesture. Sometimes something so little can make an enormous difference. From this Hadith, one can also conclude that generosity is closely linked with Iman and taqwa. As the Prophet (PBUH) also said: “Stinginess and Iman never get together in a heart of a believing servant.”(Bukhari). Generosity can be a means of approaching God. But the motive for the generous act must be for the sake of Allah and not for showing off. Generosity is also a means of showing our appreciation for what God has given us.

Generosity also leads the individual to feel good about themselves. They know that they are contributing in some way to the well-being of others and their society. Muslims scholars used to say that a generous person is free because he owns his money, and a stingy person does not deserve the label “free,” because his money owns him.

An important characteristic that goes along with being generous is being empathetic. We must be able to place ourselves in other people’s situations in order to know what it might feel like to be in a certain predicament. Understanding others will allow us to help others more readily than a self-centered individualistic view. God promises us that when we help someone in a time of need, He will reward us in the hereafter.

Practical ways to raise generous children:

Practice generous acts in front of your children. Nothing is better than leading by example.

  1. Spouses must encourage each other to be generous.
  2. Explain to children the importance and benefits of being generous.
  3. Teach children proper hospitality and being generous with their guests (such as giving other kids their toys to play with).
  4. Teach children du’a that dispels stinginess. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Say in the morning and evening: ‘O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from care and grief, I seek refuge in Thee from incapacity and slackness, I seek refuge in Thee from cowardice and niggardliness, and I seek in Thee from being overcome by debt and being put in subjection by men.’” (Dawud, Book 8, Hadith 1550)
  5. Encourage children to help others financially from their allowance.
  6. Encourage children to be consistent with their generous acts.
  7. Encourage children not to boast about their generous acts and maintain the right intentions.
  8. Encourage children to volunteer somewhere to help others.

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