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?

 

 

Christmas Lights the way


We hang them with hope
To illuminate these nights
Christmas lights the way

How do Christmas lights not bring out the child-like wonder in you? And a smile that reveals someone lost in the memory of Christmases past. Inspiring you to keep traditions passed down from your parents. Motivated to start new traditions. This Christmas, challenge yourself to go beyond yourself and share that light. Be an example for your children. You can volunteer at the local food bank or the children’s hospital. We can have real hope because Jesus, the Light of the world chose to reach out to us.

When words hurt

Teaching your children about friendship may not be easy for many parents. There are many adults who deal with the ups and downs of relationships themselves; let alone helping their own children with their friends.

In my last post, the focus was to show your child how to approach the relationship with the perspective of being a friend. There is no friendship without disagreements and even disappointments. Truth be told- there will be friends that are only for a season. There will be friends that move away. There will be friends who will not be willing to journey through the valleys of the relationship. The ones who hang around can have their “mean” moments, and sticks and stones do break bones and words will hurt the heart as well.

Here is another Jewish Proverb that addresses the power of words and friendship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”‬‬ We need to help our children recognize the difference between a malicious comment with intent to harm from a comment that is purposed to move a friendship in a healthy direction.

In this hyper-sensitive culture we live in today that defines a different opinion as offensive, we need to make it clear to our children that contrary opinion or correction (even from a peer) can bring life to a heart or situation. The “wounds” of a friend do hurt. However, if the wound-er is sincere in the attempt to help then isn’t he or she a being a true friend?

Even the youngest of children can bring health to a relationship and even correct their peers when it’s modeled to them. We all have boundaries to guard our hearts and people, including friends, will cross them all of the time. What if a friend crosses the line all the time? That sets up the topic for next time. Any thoughts about boundaries? Your comments are appreciated.

Be A Friend

Teaching your children about friendship may not be easy for many parents. There are many adults who deal with the ups and downs of relationships themselves; let alone helping their own children with their friends.

In my last post, one of the points was to place the focus on being a friend. There are a couple of Jewish Proverbs that can help us and the kids understand the importance our role as a friend.

“Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” ~Proverbs 27:17. Being a friend includes adding to the relationship. Just like iron tools are sharpened by using another iron piece to file it, friends do the same to each other. We have influence over each other. We all can remember our parents not approving of a new friend. Why were our parents not in approval? Most likely, that “friend” wasn’t a positive influence for us. For some of us, we were the ones that didn’t make the “Approved Friends” list by the parents. Being a friend means that we are that positive influence who will support, promote, and even challenge our friends.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” ~Proverbs 17:17. A true friendship is one that is tested. It is easy to be loyal during good times. A loyal friend sticks around during the trials. Being a true friend can mean being inconvenienced because there’s never a “good time” to help out a friend. “Help” can mean a lot of things, but being there for your friend in time of need is what will make the friendship last.

Being a friend also helps us define who our true friends are or at least what true friendship looks like. Will the friendship be 50/50? No. The best friendships are 100/100. The best friendships are when the friends are all in. It’s not about having a perfect friend because there’s no such thing. Furthermore, there is no way we can be the perfect friend, but we can be a positive influence and we can be loyal. That’s how we should guide our children in their relationships as well.

I think I should keep this thought stream on friends going. What is your insight on relationships? Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Teaching your children about friendships

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~Helen Keller

Teaching your children about friendships can be difficult because many of us adults are still trying to figure that part out. I have 3 brief thoughts to get the conversation going, even if it is in my own head.

No one is perfect. No one is perfect except Jesus. Everyone has faults and blind spots in their character. Everyone has a personality traits that can be charming and irritating at the same time… or just irritating. Which brings me to the next thought.

Friends will fail you. They will. No one bats 1.000. All-Stars in baseball bat a bit over .300. That sounds about the right number in friendship. Friends will every now and then make a decision that won’t go your way, like playing with someone else at recess. Show your children their worth. When they know that they are God’s gift it will help them create those boundaries for themselves and how they look at others.

Focus on being a friend. Instead of focusing on what can your child can get out of the relationship and screening classmates and neighbors for the perfect friend, help your child focus on being a friend.

I’ll post part 2 later on in the week. What are your thoughts?

Yoda’s Thoughts on Christmas

img_3293“You must unlearn what you have learned.” ~Yoda

Wise words from Pop Yoda. Just like most things, we are heavily influenced by media and the pressure is on to make all the Christmas the best one ever for your family. You have to ask yourself a couple of questions to keep a clear head and a clean heart about this holiday. If getting all the decorations and presents are going to put me in debt, then is it worth it? If all this running around is going to temporarily make me a maniac, then is it worth all the trouble? If this is what you learned to accept to be acceptable, then it’s a good time to start unlearning what you learned.

Thankful


I am grateful for hot water
that helps me start my day
and for my hot toast
with PB and gelée

A cozy bed and warm sheets
that help me rest and relax
and a job with a salary
to pay my bills and that tax

My wife and my kids
who love me for who I am
and my family and friends
and pals on FB and Instagram

Thanks to the One who never sleeps
Who helps me fix my mess
and puts solid ground under my feet
I am #blessed

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!