It all boils down to money. I have heard so many people make this comment. It cannot buy happiness but, it is a necessary evil. Yes, an evil. Because while it can bring out the good in people, all to often it brings out the worst. Not enough can bring out envy and strife. Too much can bring out pride and arrogance. Teaching your children about the value of money is a parental concern of course. But teaching them the danger of money is one of the most important lessons you will give your children. In teaching them about the ‘almighty dollar’ you can teach them about the Almighty.
God’s word has many passages concerning money. God does not treat money as evil. It is the world that has made it evil. We need to be good stewards of our children by teaching them God’s views, priorities and standards on money. Many times we simply read Bible stories to our children, but how often do we teach them a lesson that they can understand? Here are two of my favorite examples on teaching parables concerning money.1)
“The Widow’s Mite” Mark 12:41–44 This parable IS about sacrificial giving. I imagine this widow would have tithed her unemployment check, her welfare check and even her food stamps through a food pantry. However, it is also about HOW you give. The parable is also saying that “Putting on the Show” of giving is wrong. Giving and doing for others should be between you and God and not for man. When you give to impress others, that is your reward. You’ve impressed them and that is all you will receive. PLAN SOME WAY OF GIVING WITH YOUR CHILD WHERE NO ONE BUT YOU AND THEY KNOW AND EXPLAIN “GOD KNOWS!” Then ask them to ‘give’ where only they and God know. (See an early post for other ideas about Serving Others.)
2) “The Parable of the Talents” Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28 This parable is about stewardship. This can be a difficult concept for a child so I suggest a visual lesson. The concepts are even difficult for some adults. There are those that think their 10% is so little that it could do no one any good and they need every dime they have. There are those that ‘tithe’ so much of their time in ‘duties’ at church that they give no money. They fail to see how they fall into the category of the poor steward.
To teach your child a visual of how little God asks of them you will need three containers.
CONTAINERS: Banks, Jars, Envelopes, Zip Lock Bags (etc.)
LABEL: Help your child label each container
Words: 1) God, Later, Now 2) Church, Savings, Spending (etc.)
Pictures: 1) Cross, Picture of Jesus, Church, 2) Piggy Bank, or picture of something they are saving for, 3) Dollar sign, picture of something they spend their money on each week
Then each time they receive money from an allowance, birthday gift, Christmas money or whatever the occasion (even if gma/gpa just hand them a dollar) teach them to FIRST put 10% in God’s container, 40% (or more/less) in savings container, and the balance in spending container. To start your child off you may want to hand them four dollar bills and four quarters (or be a big spender and give them 10 one dollar gills). When they put 10% (two quarters for $5, or one of the 10 one dollar bills), ask them if they see how little God asks of them. Explain He does not require, but asks and that it is very little in comparison to what they have left for them.NOTE: Pick a Sunday (each week, bi-monthly or monthly) and have your child remove the money they are tithing and place in a church envelope to take to church. Teach them to quietly place it, face down in the offering plate. Here is your chance to demonstrate how quietly the widow gave her mites.
SAVINGS: Maybe they want to save for Christmas gifts, the Fair, the School BookFair, a doll or Video game. Maybe it is longer range savings like for a car or college. What ever it is, you will help them if you DO NOT change the deal. If they do not have enough at the time, then they need to WAIT FOR THEIR WANTS. Of course you must use good judgement, and sometimes a parent does NEED to step in and help when it’s a NEED and not a WANT. Our policy was we paid for their NEEDS just as God supplies our needs. We also saw to their wants as rewards.
SPENDING: DO NOT get in the habit of loaning them the balance of what they need at a store because they are ‘short’ for something they WANT. Tell them they will have to wait. Also, teach them the joy of saving by using coupons, watching for markdowns. Again, use good judgment and always be there for a true NEED. ASK YOURSELF: I always asked my girls ‘why do you want this’? If it was because ‘everyone is wearing them or has them’ BUZZER – Wrong Answer! Make sure their wants, are THEIR wants and not peer pressure or fitting in with the crowd syndrome. The bottom line is, you are responsible to GOD for what your child spends their money on while they are in your home. NEVER forget you ARE the parent. It might be their money, but they are STEWARDS of it and how they spend it must be in accordance with God’s teachings. I cannot tell you how many parents have said (in defense of their daughter/son wearing objectionable clothing, listening to objectionable music or playing unacceptable video games), “Well, what can I do? They used their money? ” We are responsible for teaching them that everything we have is from God. It is all HIS. He asks for 10% back and you are ONLY STEWARDS of the other 90%. You have to answer to Him for that as well.
Money – will it be a good thing, or a bad thing in your child’s life?
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Another amazing post!!! I sure wish you had written this for me to read about 25 years ago. Excellent ideas to help children understand “money”.