As parents, you want to see your children develop into Godly, mature, disciplined adults. You want them to avoid the many pitfalls, including financial pitfalls, which you experienced. Remember that you have already seen that God's Word tells you that the way you handle your finances is a clear indication of whether or not you can handle greater things (Luke 16:10-11). Therefore, it makes sense to train your children to handle their finances in ways pleasing to God.
Personally, I believe your children are one of your greatest assets. However, one of the difficulties with children, I find, is that children are usually walking, talking little tape recorders of their parents. I know this for sure, because one of the things that irritate me most about my children is the number of my bad habits they pick up! Including some bad financial habits. Assuming that I'm not alone in this observation, let's look together at how you can train your children to discover Debt Free Living God's Way.
What is the current situation of most children today?
• First, half of their parents will divorce. Remember, better than half of all marriages end in divorce. So, better than half the time, children will be the products of broken homes.
• The second condition: 80% of parents are in debt. This is to say that on a month-by-month basis, most parents have a hard time paying their bills. This normally leads to both parents working, and therefore leaves their children to be raised by other well-intended family members or friends or day-care centers.
• Condition number three: Most parents today get into financial difficulties because they are untrained in some of the basic life-living principles.
• Which leads to the fourth condition: You as a parent instruct by example, whether good or bad. If you lack discipline, your children will lack discipline. If you tend to overspend, so will your children. If you abuse your children, your children will tend to follow this same example. Your children tend to become what you already are.
Given these conditions, what can parents do?
• First, set goals for your children. The most important goal I have for my children is for them to learn to trust God in all areas of their lives, including their finances. However, when it comes to trusting God with the financial areas of their lives, some of our children learn this far easier that we did. (One measure of how well they learn is whether or not they can joyfully give a part of whatever they earn or have been given, to God.)
• If you want your children to learn to learn to trust God financially, you must give them the chance to succeed and to fail financially. First and foremost, this means you must learn to discipline yourself not to always buffer them from all that is going on around them.
According to Dr. Dobson, one of the problems we have today is a generation of parents who came out of the 1960's, where their parents bailed their children out of every problem they ever had. So many of today's parents are trained by example to buffer their children from all their problems. You need to remember one of the principles we talked about earlier: As God is to you as a parent, so also should you be to your children. God disciplines you and you should lovingly and prayerfully discipline your children. God allows you to make choices and learn from the consequences. You need to responsibly do the same for your children. This means you need to create situations in which your children learn to trust God financially.
• You need to learn how to teach and train your children to trust God financially. During the next several times together we'll share with you some rules and tools for teaching and training children from age two up until the time they leave home. Until then, I strongly suggest you check the many great materials (including teaching guides) offered by Crown Ministries. You can reach Crown at 1-800-722-1976 or on the INTERNET at www.crown.org.
Bob Louder is the Founder and President of Christian Financial Ministries (www.good-steward.org). Bob is also the author of the new best selling book, "Debt Free Living God's Way," available only on the Internet (www.debtfreelivinggodsway.org). Since 1987 Bob has helped people in hundreds of churches all across the country and in the European military community learn, understand, apply and pass on "Debt Free Living God's Way" principles and practical applications. He has represented some of the top Christian financial authors and ministries to include Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Concepts, and Crown Ministries.
Copyright 2006 Christian Financial Ministries, Inc., All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this "Special Report" in whole or in part without permission from Christian Financial Ministries, Inc. Please credit material used to Christian Financial Ministries, Inc.