January 25, 2014

Experiential Learning

Jesus’ teaching that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) is true—especially for young people. But how can you teach this truth in a way that it sticks and shapes generous kids?

Students are usually on the receiving end—they get food, clothing, education, and so on just given to them. Give them a chance to step outside the receiving role, however, and they learn the satisfaction of being the generous one, and they vibrate with joy. They feel grown up. It empowers them.

If you are serious about teaching your students generosity, you must make the experience their own. Take, for example, the typical food drive at the local school. Too often Mom or Dad throws some extra cans in the cart and the kids deliver the goods at school. It’s a good start, but the kids aren’t really participating in the process. All they’re doing is delivering your purchase to the school.

The difference between Dad’s $10 and the kids’ $10 is the difference between watching generosity and learning generosity experientially. Let the students decide how they want to respond to what this lesson teaches. Encourage them to dream about aiding the homeless or funding a well in Africa or giving money to a needy family in the church—and then let them pay for it!