It struck me the other day when I was working with my daughter on some of her bills and finances, kids and money have a lot in common.
There are piles of books, podcasts, blogs and sound bites from experts how about how to raise your kids and manage your money. The fact there are so many voices tells me something…we keep getting it wrong!
Seriously if it was easy, if everyone was doing well we wouldn’t have all the extra “help”.
I understand kids and money are not the same thing! Of course they aren’t the same, children are far more important and valuable than money.
Kids aren’t the same as money, kids cost you money 😊
Here are a few things they have in common.
1) Your kids and your money are at their best when they have the right focus.
Ever met anybody who is making money just for the sake of making and having more money. The nice word is competitive or driven. The ugly word is greed. Money isn’t evil, but it is the root of all evil.
Making and having money is not a bad thing, especially if you are making it and using it for a good goal. Something that helps other people. A goal that improves people’s lives. This is a GREAT thing. God gives us all the ability to make money and then the opportunity to manage the money we have.
The best goal when it comes to money is to Honor God with all your wealth.
Parenting needs a goal as well. Raising good kids, teaching them to be good people. That’s not bad, but its not enough. They are special creations made in the image of God and have an eternal soul. We can do better than “be a good person”.
The best goal when it comes to parenting is to Lead your kids to follow Jesus and love others.
2) Your kids and your money need to hear “no”.
First of all I am not a negative, cranky pants kill joy. My wife and I had a little rule we used when our kids were young, if they ask us something the default answer is yes if what they ask is possible and wise.
As far as money goes, I will never be accused of living the life of the rich and famous but we try to honor God with our wealth and enjoy the good gifts He gives us.
With that….money and kids both still need to hear no.
For example, with money there is a terrible question people often ask, “can we afford the payment”. First of all, I understand, we lived on single income for many years and there were times where there was more month than money.
However, a better question is “is this wise”? Just because you can afford something doesn’t make it a good choice. If you have the gift and the responsibility of being well off financially, sometimes…and I know this sounds crazy, you need to say no to exercise your no muscle.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about a family of four living in New York City who were, and I quote, “scrapping by on $500,000 a year”. Yes New York is expensive and taxes on upper income folks are pushing 40% so it is not as much as it sounds but they also spent huge amounts on dining out, special experiences for their kids and lavish vacations.
Again I am not a hater, but do you see how never saying no to money can begin to warp how you manage your money? It doesn’t take too much for you to go from managing your money to being managed by your money. Saying no even if you can afford it is a way making sure you are doing the managing.
It is similar with kids. There is a fascinating study out of Stanford from William Damon about saying no to kids. The following is a summary for the findings:
Parents usually want to give their children things they never had as a child. But as it turns out, the parents who often heard the word "no" may be better off in the long run than their children who hear the word "yes" too much. William Damon, director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence at Stanford University says, "The risk of overindulgence is self-centeredness and self-absorption, and that's a mental health risk."
A recent study of adults who were overindulged as children suggests that they have more problems coping with disappointments than their peers who weren't overindulged. "They also have a distorted sense of entitlement that gets in the way of success in the workplace and in relationships."
Who knew saying "no" to your children today may be the best way to teach them the valuable lesson of contentment and set them up for better mental health.
3) Your kids and your money move in seasons
When the bank account is full, the stock market is up, the kids are doing great and the home is happy it is magical. It just doesn’t happen that often!
There will be times in your financial life where things are easy, times when they are hard and times when nothing much seems to be happening.
There will be times in your life as a parent where your kids are thriving and happy, there will be times where you are feeling overwhelmed and out gunned. There will also be times when it seems nothing much seems to be happening.
I don’t know if you are in a great season, a terrible season or in between. I do know this. In every season God is with you.
Wondering what to do with all this money…God is with you!
Crushed over the choices your child made…God is with you!
Not sure how to pay rent…God is with you!
Excited they got into their dream school…God is with you!
The seasons come and go, the money is up and down, the kids are reasons for deep joy and pain. No matter what God is with you in every season.
Kids and money….who knew they were so much alike. They both thrive when you:
Keep your focus on Christ
Say no for everyone’s benefit
Remember no matter the season, it will change and God will be with you.
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