It’s funny. Every year around Christmas, articles start appearing about ways to keep your child from becoming overly greedy. Personally, I have even posted some fun ideas and service projects to do with your children around the holidays. I think many of these articles are probably penned after a parent stands in the line for Santa with their antsy child while some other child reads Santa a list longer than he is tall.
What I haven’t shared with you is the dirty little secret about greed. I guess I was afraid if you found out, you would give up trying. I’m a little older and braver this year, so here it goes. You can’t banish greed from your child’s life merely be giving less presents at Christmas and birthdays and doing a service project or two during the holidays.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Convincing your child he doesn’t have a right to every toy ever made on each birthday and Christmas is probably a very good thing. Having your children serve others at Christmas is definitely a wonderful thing. But those two things alone won’t banish greed from your child’s life. (Sadly, if the present reduction thing isn’t done carefully, it can backfire and make your child even more greedy.)
Rarely do I recommend a resource after I have given its initial review. A new resource is released tomorrow I believe is so important, I am going to break my unwritten rule. One of the biggest sources of confusion for many Christians and of conflict in many marriages is the subject of money. Oh, God gives us pretty clear guidelines, but knowing how to put them into practice can be tough if not almost impossible for many.
Whether you constantly struggle with debt and finances or feel you have a good, godly grasp on the subject, you may wonder how to pass on skills for handling money, that will not only prevent your children from the stress of debt, but teach them how to use their money in godly ways. Smart Money Smart Kids is written by Dave Ramsey and his adult daughter Rachel Cruze. The book does one of the best jobs I have seen of not only explaining what money skills you need to teach your children, but exactly how to do it.
My husband and I were blessed to be raised in families where we were taught godly values about money. We were trained to spend less than we earned, keep debt to a minimum, save money for unexpected expenses (and expected large ones) and give a good bit of our money away to Church and charity.
As single people, we continued these careful ways. When we married, it was easy to pay down the little debt we had and become debt free. Once our daughter entered the picture, we quickly introduced her to the concepts of work, saving and giving.
So, when we found Dave Ramsey, it wasn’t because we needed to change anything we were doing, but we wanted some fun, informative materials on financial topics to use while homeschooling our daughter. We stumbled upon him through his radio show and purchased his teen video series. As I have mentioned before, our daughter absolutely loved it. She was probably in middle school at the time and would jump out of bed every morning and race to put his dvd in and watch it.
Raising kids to have godly values about money is tough. Not only are parents battling an extremely materialistic society, but godly principles about money require a delicate balance. Everything we have belongs to God and is a blessing from Him. (James 1:17) We need to take good care of our blessings and give generously back to God through helping others and direct donations to God’s work. (II Corinthians 9:7) We need to work hard in our jobs. (Colossians 3:23) We shouldn’t be obsessed with money, especially to the point where it replaces God. (I Timothy 6:10)
There are some practical things you can do to help your children begin to find this godly balance about money.
Last Sunday as I was almost finished getting ready for church, I was hit by the kind of pain that doubles you over. It quickly became apparent that a run to the emergency room was in my near future. I probably should have panicked.
This summer I am running our children’s Bible class program – Missionary Journeys. This usually means quite a bit of last minute set-up on Sunday mornings as well as co-ordinating volunteers and teaching one of the centers. None of that was going to be done by me that day.
We ran by the church building on the way to the hospital and basically kicked our fifteen year old daughter and all of the stuff needed for Bible class out of our car. As we drove off towards the hospital, she was left to do everything I normally did on Sunday mornings for set-up and co-ordination as well as the photography and filming that she normally does for me.