Concordia Lutheran High School

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The Cynical Giver: Explaining #GivingTuesday to My Students

The following is adapted from actual conversations and social media posts:

Student: I don’t have a job! I just had to buy stuff for choir retreat. Why are they asking me for money? Also, we literally just had a service project raising money for Lutheran South Academy in Houston. 

Parent: I hate that the school hounds me for tuition, then expects me to give even more when I already have gifts to buy for Christmas. Also, my kid told me he signed up to buy stuff for the Christmas Bureau family. Guess who’s paying for that?

Recent Alumni: I’m in college and have student loan payments. Why does Concordia bug me for money? I already paid them four years of tuition!

Seniors Class of 2018: I’m not going to be here next year; why should I give money for stuff I don’t get to use?

CLHS Employee: I work my butt off for my paycheck. Why do I have to give some back?

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This last week, students at Concordia have been asked to join #RedHeart, #Mean&Green, or #BlueBloods, lead by Sarah Hellinger, Darcy Lugo, and Tyler Hoyle, respectively. By signing up to “join” one of these teams and giving $2 to Concordia on Giving Tuesday, they earned the privilege to wear the team color. The most creative outfit wins a Starbucks giftcard.

Despite our best attempts at explanations, students are confused by being asked to give — especially after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

I interned in our Advancement Office (now Development Office) one summer during college, and I learned that it isn’t how much people give that is important.

Concordia gets very excited about young donors, consistent donors, and new donors, far more than the dollar amount. People giving back to the high school signals to us they support our continued mission, to instruct the next generation of Christians. Christian finance guru Dave Ramsey explains giving like this:

"The tithe [10% of income] was not put into place for God’s benefit—He already has everything He needs. He doesn’t need our money! (And 'our' money is already His anyway.) Tithing was created for our benefit. It teaches us how to keep God first in our lives and how to live unselfishly. Unselfish people make better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers. And they usually have better finances. God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time. ... Remember, no one has ever become poor by giving."

I am a 2007 graduate of CLHS. I came back to teach. I love this school and its mission. I know we always have room for improvement, like everyone else in this sinful world. However, even when I most feel I can’t afford it, I always try to give a little.

To my students, giving is leaving your legacy. You are showing the underclassmen that you continue to support them even after you leave, so they can enjoy the same education that helped you to grow.

To the adults, I encourage you to join me in giving today (and throughout the year) to emphasize to our students that you care about them and their Christ-centered educational excellence.

To show my English background, Charles Dickens described Ebeneezer Scrooge as, “a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Scrooge was wealthy and unhappy, and the theme of A Christmas Carol is that giving is better than receiving!  

Thank you for your prayers and gifts this holiday season.

Lizzy Hoham,
CLHS English Teacher