Moms have “to-do lists”. We get things done! Our lists include doing the laundry, tying shoes, wiping messes… and bottoms, giving baths, fixing hair, chauffeuring the kids all over the Western Hemisphere, kissing boo boos, singing ABCs, cutting food into bite-size pieces and trying to keep our kids entertained. Most importantly, we aim to teach our children about Jesus and how truly incredible He is! The list sometimes seems endless! But do you have anywhere on your list, “teach my children how to view and handle money”?
Now, I realize talking about money may not be the spiritual uplift you were searching for today, but hear me out. Jesus talks a lot about money! Many of His parables were about finances alone. I read that there are more than 2,000 verses about money in the Bible. Money is a big deal! How we, as His children, manage it is an even bigger deal. Our babies get their first course in finance 101 from us. We not only need to teach it by what we say, but also by what we do.
Have you ever been aimlessly roaming down the beloved aisles of Marshalls, TJMaxx, or HomeGoods and you keep discovering all these adorable things? Something inside of us begins to salivate. We turn into Veruca Salt from Willey Wonka and break out into “I want the world, I want the whole world”. We want the shoes, the purse, the fancy Parisian soap, the delectably smelling candles, the new picture frame and the cute polo shirt for our husband. Not to mention all the furniture we want to load up in our trunks and use to renovate our homes!
But in moments like those, it is important to step back from the sliding doors, put down the dress, and evaluate both our desires and our wallets. Are we buying things in an attempt to find some form of contentment? Are we exemplifying wisdom and self-control in our purchases? Are we financially able to make these purchases without causing damage to our bank accounts, marriages, or our own security? Believe it or not, our children are watching how we spend our money, and what we do impacts how they might manage their finances in the future.
Now let me clarify, if you can afford it, and do not allow spending to control you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying things! I repeat, nothing wrong! It is so much fun to go to the store and get a new (you fill in the blank). The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3 that we are to enjoy the fruits of our labor, because they are gifts from God! I imagine the same way we adore watching our children’s eyes light up when they get something new, God also loves watching His daughters proudly put on a new pair of earrings or finally buy those new jeans we have been wanting. But we still need to make sure we are being good stewards of what He has entrusted us and pass on these foundational principles to our kids.
This is a big job and one that I want to succeed in. The last thing I want is for my three little girls to grow up with the mentality they can spend whatever, whenever and however with no consequences. They need to understand the order of give, save, spend, mixed with hard work and wisdom. I want my girls to know that contentment doesn’t come in a size 8 1/2 shoe, but their fulfillment, joy and purpose comes from Christ alone.
A while ago, I was sitting in the den after everyone had gone to bed. I began to think about some of the things I wanted for our home; a sofa table, patio furniture, etc. I was then reminded that even when I get everything checked off my “wish list” and get my house exactly like Pinterest tells me it should be (if that is even possible), it isn’t going to bring me real joy.
The Lord then so beautifully dropped in my heart that familiar verse in Matthew that says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” What an incredible verse to apply to our finances. Seek first His kingdom! Handle money God’s way. Be obedient to God’s Word and give your tithes and offerings cheerfully and consistently. Pay your bills and work hard to be indebted to no one. Save wisely for the future. Be generous with others (this doesn’t always involve money). Enjoy life and buy that new shirt. And finally, be content with what you have because it’s all a gift from God. These principles are priceless for our sweet kids not only to be told, but to watch right before their cute little eyes. We are raising up the future, so let’s lead well!
Here are a few practical ideas on teaching our kids about finances:
Get your kids a Give, Save, Spend Bank (Larry Burkett has a good one, or just google ‘Give Save Spend bank for kids’ for ideas to make your own). This is a hands on way to show the order of where their money should go.
At the dinner table or in the car, talk openly about God’s faithfulness and how He is our provider. Explain that everything we have comes from Him.
Help them to save up for something special. This will teach them to buy things only when they have the money to pay for it. It will also teach them patience!
Involve your kids in generous acts; missions, Operation Christmas Child, helping a family in need, sponsoring an overseas child… etc.
Give us some of your own practical ideas in the comments below!