When we give them an allowance, it is a gift, with no conditions on it’s deposition save one: that they record what they plan to do with it. So, our tradition is that when they receive their allowance on Saturday, they record the amount in their account books, then decide how much to give at church, then how much to give to the Compassion children we sponsor for them, and finally how much they want to save.
Naturally, we give guidance to them as they decide and have tried to teach and demonstrate qualities of gratitude, mercy and generosity in how we handle money, but ultimately, the decision is theirs.
So far, with both the older children (who are believers) it has worked exceptionally well. My wife and I are both surprised and grateful about the degree of their generosity. Without hesitation or remorse, they freely give the majority of their money away. Further, they will frequently spend the money left over on gifts for the children we sponsor who live in developing nations. As I plan out our finances and expenses for the year, I am inspired by my children to give money away, not out of obligation, but from a spirit of gratitude, mercy and generosity befitting one who follows Jesus.
But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.