CHILDREN & MONEY Denny Wright Growing up in Glenwood, Arkansas, my Dad owned a grocery store. Each Thursday afternoon after school I worked throwing out empty boxes. My pay was $1.50. I took an envelope from the box of offering envelopes my church gave to me and put in 15¢. For 40 years I have given 15¢ a week without missing! No, really, I learned to give 10%, not just 15¢. I remember my first twenty dollar bill. I got change and put $2.00 in my envelope that Sunday. I took my wife and two preschoolers to Fort Worth to attend seminary. Working parttime jobs, taking a full load at school, and eating lots of macaroni and cheese, we still gave 10 cents out of every dollar God brought into our home. God has always provided! What a great lesson I was taught as a child. What a blessing I am now receiving!
Five Ways to Teach Children How to Give: 1. Three Jars Provide your child three jars, one for giving, the second for savings, and another for spending. Teach them the priority of giving and saving before spending. Each time your child receives money, a suggested way to distribute it is: 10% giving, 20% saving, 70% spending. Or get creative and help your child build from cardboard a church (for giving), a bank (for saving), and a store (for spending).
2. Chores or Allowance Instead of reaching into pocket or purse to find loose change to give your child for an offering, pay them for chores or provide an allowance. Giving takes on a whole new meaning when they are giving “their” money. My wife and I put two lists of chores on the frig for our son and daughter to complete each week. Each week they alternated lists. We paid them according to what they got done and how well they did it. This was their giving and spending money. No chores done, no fun won!
3. Show & Tell Mom & Dad, show them the check you write and give to the church. Share with them why you give 10% or more to sharing Jesus with the world through the church. Make sure they understand checks represent real money at the bank. Help them understand that the more God provides for you the more you give. Although your child doesn’t give a lot of dollars now, it is still 10% of what God gives them.
4. Offering Envelopes I loved to check things off as a child. I got to check Present, On Time, Daily Bible Reading, Studied Lesson, AND Offering Given on my offering envelope. Let your child have their own set of envelopes. Help them fill-out the information every week. Use envelopes to remind them to give regularly and consistently.
5. Real Life Lessons Gary Aylor, who now serves at LifeWay, tells of going to his grandfather’s farm and picking up ten burlap bags of pecans. Then his grandfather asked his grandson’s to pick out the largest bag. He tied a red ribbon to it and said that one was the Lord’s. Then they took the
pecans into town and sold them. The price of the largest bag was put in the offering plate by the grandsons the next morning at church. His grandmother made a big impact on Bob Eklund, now a retired minister. After earning his first five-dollar bill, his grandmother sent him to the hardware store to get change. He returned and placed the four dollar bills and four quarters on the kitchen table. To his shock, grandma took two quarters. “What are you doing?!” he blurted. “This is your offering,” she explained. He countered, “But you give me an offering each Sunday!” With a smile she said, “Now you give 10% from your own money.”
Three Ways to Teach Your Children How to Manage Money: One of the biggest reasons adults do not give or give very little to the greatest purpose in the universe, God’s kingdom, is because of poor financial management. Teach your child to be good money managers!
1. Investing Give your child a set amount of money depending on their age and maturity. Tell them to use the money, but to give you the money back after a period of time. Any extra money they gain or earn, they keep! I know, this is risky, but think of the lessons they can learn, even from their mistakes. For example, you might give a sixth-grader $50 to be paid back to you in three months. Help her think of ways she can “invest” it to gain more money, such as opening a savings account to earn interest or buying fruit to sell. Of course she will need to give 10% of the gain to the Lord.
2. Mistakes Perhaps your son looses your hammer. Set him up on a payment plan to buy a new hammer from his chores or allowance. Without getting angry at the child, you are teaching them the biblical principle of cause and effect, sowing and reaping. Also you are creating a heightened sense of responsibility. It will hurt you and him very much, but what a great life-lesson he could learn!
3. Purchases There are purchases you are going to make for your children anyway. Why not entrust them with some of the school clothes money and let them decide on the purchase. One child may add some allowance to it and buy the name brand shirt. Another child may shop the clearance rack, get four shirts and have candy money left over. Then sit down and discuss why they made their decisions.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6