Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tips for Teaching Kids About Money

Here is an outline of Randy Alcorn’s article on ways that parents can help their kids learn to think biblically about money.

1. Give your children something greater than money—your time.

2. Use life’s teachable moments to train your children.

3. Take a field trip to a junkyard.

4. Teach your children to link money with labor.

5. Teach your children how to save.

6. Get your children started on the lifetime adventure of giving.

7. Provide your children with financial planning tools.

8. Teach your children how to say “No.”

9. Show your children how family finances work.

10. Never underestimate the power of your example.

Original source: Justin Taylor's blog | Link to the article here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Teach Motivation, Not Just Morality

"As a rule the decay of religion works out in the second generation as moral rigidity, and in the third generation as the breakdown of all morality." -Emil Brunner

I was reading The Plight of Man and the Power of God by Marty Lloyd-Jones the other day and came across the quote above. Brunner (and Lloyd-Jones) were making a simple observation about families where parents try to teach children moral values without teaching them the proper motive behind those values (a love of God).

If Christian parents do not get to the hearts of their children and teach them why they should behave certain ways, they still might appear to succeed in morally training their children. It's true that their kids might appear to do and say godly things. But without those decisions being motivated by a genuine heart-love for Christ, all that's really happening is "moral rigidity." Kids are behaving in what appear to be Christlike manners and might even become legalistic about them, but Christ-honoring motivation is absent.

Fast-forward to when they have children.

That child-now-turned-parent has always behaved in relatively "moral" or "godly" ways, but their motivation was only to please mom or dad. Or maybe it was to impress others. Or maybe it was to try to earn some good standing with God....And they start to try to teach their own children to behave in similar ways morally. But their children see empty and groundless morality lived out in front of them week to week. They see mom and dad try to be "good," but why? And more importantly, why should they? Mom and dad never provide a reason other than "It's the right thing to do" or "It's what's best for you" or "Because I said so!" So this new generation--a generation that is not pointed to Christ or to love of God as the motivation for moral behavior--actually is where we see a "breakdown of all morality." They cast off the empty shell of morality they saw in their parents.

I've seen this take place in numerous families over my short lifespan so far, and I don't want to see it happen in our church....We can't guarantee that our children will follow in our footsteps of faith and obedience to Christ. But we can--and should--be careful to teach them why we call for them to live morally. It's not just because we said so or because it will benefit them in some way or for the good of society even. It's because there is a God and a Savior who deserves their obedience.

Teaching them that will typically lead to heart change over time. It's not fail-proof of course. But failing to teach them that will almost guarantee the "breakdown of morality" in generations to come.

Make sure you teach motivation and not just morality.