Teaching The Principles of Sacrifice
If we valued sacrifice, we’d act less entitled and we’d be less self-centered and selfish. Does that appeal to you? Parents regularly tell me they don’t like seeing these qualities in their children. I don’t like seeing them in myself.
Sacrifice: “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”
When teaching the principles of sacrifice to children, you can use our military heroes as examples. Their family members sacrificed, too. Invite a veteran or a vet’s family over for dinner so they can tell their stories. Encourage your children to ask questions. These three might be good: Why were you willing to sacrifice? Did it feel like a sacrifice? Would you do it again?
Are you watching the baseball playoffs? (Go Brewers!!) The best of the best can choose to sacrifice themselves to move a teammate closer to home. A bunt or a deep fly ball will result in them being “out.” They’ll return to the dugout and be congratulated when they arrive. Why? Because they did what was best for the team.
This is what you want your kids to do, right? To put others first. To think of the big picture. To prioritize their team, their groups, and their friends. To see when sacrificing something valuable is appropriate because something more valuable is within reach.
That’s a key – knowing what’s more valuable. For our children to sacrifice, they need to know what they value. Their own baseball stats or a team victory? An easy life free from pain or rescuing those in pain? This is why learning to sacrifice can decrease self-centeredness, selfishness, and entitlement. We decide to value something beyond ourselves.
Did you notice the words “learning to” and “decide to”? For most of us and for most children, sacrificing isn’t natural. Your children can learn how.
Just like with so much else (everything else?), you might be the most important example. Share your own stories. When and why did you sacrifice when you were your kids’ ages? Or, why didn’t you? What about now? Why do you sacrifice for your children ? Your spouse? Your church? God? How do you decide what to do? how does sacrifice make your feel? Unlike the baseball player who is thanked and congratulated when sacrificing, my guess is that you’re not. Is that okay?
King David, a man after God’s own heart, declares in 2 Samuel 24:24, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” Our pastor used this verse and slice from David’s life yesterday when calling us to sacrificial giving as we trust God to provide what’s needed to remodel our sanctuary and add on to our children’s area. We’re being challenged to have big faith in God, ourselves, and others.
Sacrifice stretches us. It’s good for us. It makes us go beyond easy. It requires trust. Therefore, it matures us. Help your kids experience its benefits. Counting this kind of cost pays great benefits.