If you have children, God has given you a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to nurture them and allow Him to use you to shape and mould them into all God desires for them.
Our materialistic, ‘have it now’ society impacts and influences each of us. Children today are affected by a range of external factors including advertisements, the internet, celebrities, peers and so on. Whatever influences your children probably also influences their spending ‘requests.’
I have heard so many parents tell me that they never spent time training their children how to handle money. Sometimes that was because the parents had money problems of their own. Children learn by example and although you might not feel you are qualified, let me tell you – you are, you are their parents! Our children need training, shaping and moulding more than ever before – in how to handle life, which includes how to handle money.
Every child has his or her own God-given gifts and strengths, and it is a parent’s responsibility to help the child identify these and encourage their development. One of the ways we can help our children is to teach them how to be good stewards of the resources God provides. If this is done properly, God can use parents to leave a legacy of faith to our children.
How do we do it? How do we teach them to be good stewards?
Share the love of Jesus and set an example by loving your spouse, family and others.
Share the truth of God’s love and ways whenever you can. We should be a constant source of love and encouragement for our children. Think of it as being your child’s greatest fan. Yes, there is a time for discipline, but there is also a time for encouragement.
If our children know that we truly love them they will be more willing to let us lead them and speak truth into their lives. Look at 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 for the characteristics of love and ask yourself if you are displaying this kind of love to your children. Do your children know they are more important than your job, your standard of living, your hobbies? Take time to show them your love and invest in your children.
Many of the financial decisions we make now will affect our children in the future, so we need to make sure our children’s needs are factored into our decision-making. Possible areas for consideration include education, weddings and assistance with initial housing costs.
This does not mean that we should provide every pound for everything our child does, rather that we need to have a plan in place to provide for their needs. You and your spouse may decide that you want to earn more money to help pay for some of their needs.
When considering longer term, provision our children can also be encouraged to save and contribute to their future, alongside their parents. We spend a lot of our lives working to earn money and teaching them the value of work is important. It takes time and energy to earn money.
When Paul was talking to the church at Corinth and encouraging them to be more Christ-like, he said these words recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul realised the importance of being a model, an example, of what he was teaching. The same thing goes for our children. In most cases, what we do will have a greater impact than what we say. Our instruction will not be effective if we do not model it.
Our attitude towards money is just as important as how we handle our money. Children who experience a healthy environment towards money are more likely to exhibit the same traits. Talk about budgeting with your children and involve them in it, helping to think of ways to use money wisely.
We all need practise to improve skills. Handling money is no different. Why not give your children the opportunity to practise by giving them a small amount of money each week? They can learn the value of money, tithing, giving and saving. Practically speaking a see through jar will help them see how the level of their coins will grow over the weeks. Involving your children in acts of generosity that you can pray about as a family will bring a lot of joy and develop culture of giving.
If your children followed your example today, what condition would they be in tomorrow? Would your example prepare them to be good stewards when they grow up, or would it cause them to make the same mistakes you have made?
Do not lose hope! Even if you have not started out right and modelled for your children the proper way, start today to learn to give, save and spend in a manner that honours God.