Money is something we all need and use but it’s not something that is easy to talk about. Oftentimes, we think that if we have enough of it, we’ll be safe. Or perhaps we believe that if we have more money, we’ll be happier and gain higher status among our peers. Saving money creates a sense of security for many people, while not having enough often makes people feel vulnerable.
It’s important to remember that money isn’t bad or good – it’s amoral. However, when it starts to become something we worship, we have a problem. It’s important that we recognize when we have made a god of money. Christ tells us that our value, security, and satisfaction can be found in Him alone. But how do we translate that message to our children when they are bombarded with information that says otherwise? The critical question becomes how to teach children about money and avoid making it an idol?
Idolatry: Steering Clear Of The God Of Money
The Bible is very clear when it comes to the topic of false gods and idolatry. In Exodus, God tells his people in the ten commandments that He gives them that they should have no other gods before him. Throughout the Bible, false gods and idols are worshipped, and God’s people break His heart when they do so, but in today’s world, idolatry often looks very different.
Idolatry looks like being too tied to our work, our television shows, our social media use, and so much more. It particularly looks like greed and the desire to consume more and more, making the god of money one that is particularly appealing to children.
It’s human nature for children to want with little consideration for what goes into satisfying their wants, especially when it comes to paying for them. Parents are made in the image of a good God who wants to lavish them with good gifts, so it’s only natural that we want to do the same for our own children.
Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between lavishing our children with good gifts and them learning that money and the things money can buy doesn’t always equal happiness or good times. When individuals believe that lie, they directly oppose what Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19-21. He tells us that our treasures on earth will be destroyed or stolen and that we should build our treasures up in Heaven so that our hearts may be there as well.
Good Stewardship Of Resources Battles The God of Money
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from God. This includes money and the things money can buy. God expects us to use the money he provides to take care of our needs, and yes, some wants, but more? If we live under Biblical financial principles, He expects us to use the gifts He gives us wisely. Luke 12:15 reminds us that our lives are not just about what we possess.
That’s a hard concept for children who regularly see an assortment of attractive things the world would tell them they must have, though. And, it’s hard for parents to battle the ‘idol mentality’ when it comes to the god of money. It becomes especially hard to teach about good stewardship and giving generously when doing so means that they may have less. But it’s the parent’s job to lead by example and fight the god of money mentality while showing how to teach our children about money and avoid making it an idol.
How To Teach Children About Money & Spend Wisely
It is so vital that we teach our children how to be good stewards of our resources, so they don’t become slaves to the god of money. When we teach our children to understand their resources are gifts that God expects us to use wisely, we are doing as Jesus told us in Matthew 25:21.
So how can we teach our children about money and using it wisely? Teach them first and foremost that God gifts us abundantly to be generous with others. He wants us to have charitable hearts and to love one another. By teaching them to do that, they have to use their money wisely.
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Encourage Allowance: Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Giving an ‘allowance’ helps them learn how to use money, and how to use it wisely. Whether you choose to give an allowance for chores or family jobs, or because your children work their hardest in school, they will have to be accountable for the way it is spent. It doesn’t need to be a ton of money; it’s simply an opportunity for you to show your children that in the real world, money is what’s given for work—be it at school, at home or in the neighborhood—and when it’s ‘their money,’ they learn early that having money is not a given in this world.
Using Money Wisely: Give, Save, Spend
One great way to do this is to teach children the rule of thirds (or something that your family values fall in line with) when it comes to money. Basically, this means teaching them to give a third to charities of some sort, save a third for emergency or special items and keep a third for their everyday wants.
Saving money teaches accountability and how to be resourceful and good stewards of their money.
Spending their own money on their wants and extras teaches them that money isn’t limitless and we have to make choices about how we spend our money or it quickly is gone with little to show. When children see their parents as the ‘bank,’ they don’t learn about how to make those wise choices on their own.
Giving a third of their money is the easiest and best way to show children how to love others. When they choose to tithe or give to charities, they learn that God wants them to use the gifts He gives them to do good for others, and it creates a lifelong habit of loving others.
Teach Children To Budget
One of the easiest ways to help children learn to use money wisely is to teach them to budget. It may seem premature, but it’s never too early to teach your children to know where every dollar goes and how to make sure it’s spent on exactly what they want. And, it’s a great way for them to learn to only spend what they have—if it’s not in the budget, and it’s not an emergency? It’s something they don’t get to buy and will have to budget for if they really want.
Track It and Take It To The Bank!
It’s important for children to learn about banking early on, and when following a budget, they should learn to track their money in a register just as we do. Sure, it can be on a smaller scale, but taking them to the bank and allowing them to see the process of opening an account and saving, growing interest (and withdrawing) shows them that even if money is not cash-in-hand, it’s still not limitless and needs to be used resourcefully.
Teach A Child In The Way They Should Go
Employing these money-teaching tips will help our children learn to use money wisely and avoid being a slave to it.
But the most important ways we can teach our children about money and how to avoid making it an idol is through our own actions and behaviors. How can we teach our children about money if they see us battle with the bondage of consumerism and overwhelming debt? When they see that we know how to wisely use money and avoid the bondage that comes from idolizing money and material things, they will have real-life examples of how to do so also.
If we want to learn how to teach our children about money and to avoid making it the god of money, then we need to take the first step. Don’t allow yourself to be trapped by the god of money, let Christian Debt Counselors help you.