What do you want your children to know about money?

One of the pastors at my church preached on what the Bible says about personal finances. As each main point dropped like bombs on top of me, I sunk down in my chair realizing how much I need to grow in this area. My wife read my mind at that very moment. As soon as the pastor offered a budgeting workshop to the congregation, my wife registered both of us for the class before the preacher could ask for an “Amen.”

I thought about my children and asked myself the question that I now ask you, “What do you want your children to know about money?” I will list at least 3 thoughts that I believe in and if I haven’t been practicing what I preach, then it starts today. Let’s see if this list sticks after the budget seminar. Here’s what I have for now. This is what I want my kids to know about money.

1. If you can’t afford it, then you really can’t afford it. I think that I have had to learn and re-learn this lesson at least a thousand times. I guess it’s because I have to make this is a proven saying. I remember getting my first credit card from the table in front of the college bookstore. The year was 1986, and I was making $3 and some change per hour at Gemco 20 hours a week. Once I was approved, I made some trips to Disneyland. I also purchased a car stereo and some clothes. It didn’t take me long before I maxed out the credit card in a span of 4 weeks. I want my children to know that much discipline is needed with credit. I want them to know that if you can’t afford it, then you really can’t afford it until you save up for it or decide that it’s not an item or experience you’re not willing to pay for.

2. Have intentions with your money. Who’s guilty of that self-talk, “If I had more money, I’d help out so-an-so,” or “I’d give to that charity if I had money to give.” Me. I’ve said that. I want my children to know that they don’t have to aimlessly spend their money on whatever makes them feel happy. One of my favorite Jewish Proverbs says that a generous soul shall be made rich. I believe that your money should go beyond yourself and the four walls of your home. Helping those in need should be part of their intentions with money.

3. Who’s the boss? I want my children to determine that they are in charge of their money. They aren’t slaves to their money. I don’t agree with the popular saying that money is root of all evil. That is not what they Bible says. Money is good or bad. 1 Timothy  6:10 explains that it is the LOVE of money that sets us in the wrong direction. Our attitude towards money and how we use it is the heart issue that rich people, poor people, and everyone in the middle has to figure out. I want my children to be excellent stewards of their finances.

Money is such a big thing in our lives. It shouldn’t be the biggest thing. It definitely shouldn’t be the one thing that consumes our thoughts. That spot belongs to God. It even says so on our bills and coins. I should get one of those custom printed on my VISA to remind myself.

What are your thoughts? What do you want your children to know about money?

The Importance of Doing the Mundane

Almost every time I come to this beach before the sun comes up, I watch this man in his tractor level the sand on the beach. It seems like an mundane thing to do. He goes from one end of the beach to the other in his rolling machine turning the bumpy beach into a smooth one and stopping every once in a while to pick up a beer bottle or large object. My friends and I reaped the benefits of an easy walk through the beach to surf for a couple of hours. We didn’t have to worry about stepping on trash that the previous beachgoers left behind because of this man’s work.

The word ‘mundane’ is usually used in a negative context, yet the the dictionary says that it relates to the ordinary and commonplace. We all have the mundane every day tasks that we have to do at work and home. That could be taking out the trash. That could be reading the revised employee’s handbook. That could be leveling the beach. Keep in mind that as we consistently complete the ordinary tasks that we have to do day in and day out, most likely someone is going to benefit and even if that person is you. Someone is going to get to walk on the sand you just smoothed out.

Speaking of the mundane, I listen to music while doing chores to help the time go by. Which genre of music you like to listen to when you are tackling your to-do list? Share below and thanks for reading.

Using Training Wheels

I don’t know too many kids who picked up a bike for the first time and just started riding it. Actually, I don’t know any kid who has done that. This child in the picture, just like many children, was taught by his parents. His mastery of this skill happened in stages. This bicycle had training wheels first. This boy learned to ride a bike with the help of training wheels before he learned to balance and pedal his bicycle without them.

When his father removed the training wheels, this boy may have fallen off of his bike a few times after losing his balance. He may have needed his mother to push him to give him enough momentum to keep moving forward. Now that he’s riding his bike without training wheels, he will never need them or want them again.

Shouldn’t we use the training wheel method to teach our children other skills in life? You know; those skills that aren’t athletic in nature but are necessary life skills. Have you showed them how to navigate their relationships and the ups and downs of life? They will need a guiding hand and even a push. Eventually, you remove the training wheels and let them ride on their own.

Will they fall down? Yes. Help them back up. You might have to encourage them to try again. They can’t be using training wheels forever.

Your children need training. Are you a committed trainer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Encouraging Words

I was in bed that day with the flu a few years back. I’m guessing that you all know how that feels. I don’t remember how long I was sleeping, but when I woke I found 2 notes that my twins placed next to my pillow. At that moment, I started feeling better. I don’t know if somehow my antibodies were encouraged to start kicking the bacteria in my body, but I know that their encouraging notes lifted up my soul and adjusted my attitude to bring me steps closer to a full recovery.

Many of us experienced the power of words in this past presidential election. The rhetoric was negative. (When is it not?) The name calling and mud-slinging continues on and instead of uniting a nation has further divided it. You don’t even have to leave home or bed nowadays to get bombarded with negative words. All you have to do is turn on the TV or look at your connected world from the convenience of your phone.

Think about your children. Growing up can be a cruel experience at times. Because our connected world is bombarding our children like we have never experienced before, we should make it our highest priority to make our home the true “safe” place.

Parents, we should be always building our children up. When you first held your child do you remember the dreams you had for him? Do you remember what you promised her? Your words are what steers your child towards his hopeful future. You won’t be able to shield your her from the negative words that will come her way, but you can help her overcome malicious words do tear down. Show them they also have responsibility over their own words.

It starts with you. Your child listens to your conversations about your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws, your boss, your coworkers, your neighbors, etc. How do your speak to your child? What do you tell him about himself? What do you say when she needs to be corrected about her attitude? When he is asking for acknowledgement about something he has accomplished how do you respond?

I say that the majority of your words towards your children should be with intentions to build and heal. I can think of Jewish Proverbs that comment on the power of words. Proverbs 12:6 (NLT) says, “The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

After looking at the picture of these cards, I’m challenged to go beyond the daily conversations I have with my kids and going to send cards to them. Encouraging me kids via text messages are many times timely and convenient. Yet, nothing beats a card sent via air mail. Do you remember the last time, other than Christmas and the local real estate agent, when you received a greeting card in the mail? How did that make you feel?