Guest Column: Generosity

Living a life with a generous heart is something we are always encouraging families, children and others to do. The news, social media and print advertising are also encouraging us to give generously. So what does living generously even entail? It can be giving of one’s time, talents or resources. It’s our willingness to live open handedly.

You know when you’ve encountered a generous person as they will do something as simple as offer you a seat or give you their place in line at the checkout. It can also be that person that gives away their belongings to make someone else’s life better. We encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to being generous. Find new and creative ways to help out. Most of the time it’s an attitude of giving, more than a financial commitment.

The Partners Advancing Character Education program is a great addition to our schools. Like PACE we teach monthly virtues or character traits here on Sundays. Helping children know how they can make our world better by having great character and values is top on our list

Here at Mirabeau Chapel we are always trying to encourage not only our adults but our kids and youth to live generously. We sponsor over 100 kids with the Bite2go program at Trent Elementary. The Bites2go program is where we pack a backpack full of food for the student to take home on Friday to have a secure food source over the weekend when nutritious food can be an uncertainty for many low-income kids.

We also participate in the 2ndHarvest Mobile Food Bank at Trent Elementary which serves families twice a month. Local organizations donate food to 2ndHarvest and then we distribute it to the families at the school who come on an evening to pick it up. It’s a great way for a family to serve together and model generosity without costing the family anything.

We as a church are very active in Blessings Under the Bridge, a group that is serving the homeless here in Spokane. They have weakly dinners and clothes distribution on Wednesday nights under a bridge downtown. They also have large holiday events serving 3000 people at those events. It’s a great way to experience people being generous with their time.

As a local church we saw a need in our schools for not only food but other items so we started a program called “Blessing Boxes” here at Mirabeau Chapel. Every December we ask our families to fill a shoebox with some necessities, like socks, gloves, and a hat. We also have them add a toy and some treats. They then wrap the boxes in Christmas paper and we deliver them to different school each year. Last year our families filled 185 boxes and blessed Trentwood Elementary. Living generously, by giving gifts to others.

One thing that helps with living open handedly is to not get wrapped up in our “stuff”. More stuff doesn’t make you happier. Showing generosity becomes much easier when we aren’t so focused on ourselves and what we can get, but focused outwardly. We want kids to understand that when we choose to give generously to others, we become truly rich with everything that really matters in life.

Cyndi Langhans is the Children’s Pastor and Adventure Kids Preschool Administrator at Mirabeau Chapel. Cyndi and husband Craig have lived in Spokane Valley for 30 years. She is very supportive of local schools and its teachers. She volunteered her time to be the PACE Character Guest Columnist of the Month for July. Mirabeau Chapel recently became a PACE Partner.