The Best Things in Life Are Not Things

The Best Things in Life Are Not Things

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can’t think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.

Love, Your $on

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.

Love, Dad

For a number of years, Cathy and I gave our daughters money each semester for a clothes allowance. With this income, they could choose to buy whatever clothing they wanted (within reason), but it was all the money they would receive for clothes for the semester.

Christy had it figured out: She looked for sales and was quite the bargain shopper. On the other hand, Rebecca chose more expensive clothes and did spur-of-the-moment shopping. (In our family, Christy shops like Mom and Rebecca shops like Dad!) One time, I saw Christy wearing Rebecca’s new expensive skirt, which she hadn’t yet worn. I asked Christy if she had Rebecca’s permission, and she told me that Rebecca had sold it to her for half price. Why would she do that? Because Rebecca had spent her entire clothing allowance and had forgotten to purchase shoes! She had asked Mom to bail her out. Mom offered a small loan, but Rebecca chose to sell her skirt to get new shoes.

Rebecca learned a lesson that many kids don’t learn until adulthood: There is only so much money to go around, and the decisions you make about how you spend it will either benefit you, or strap you and add more pressure than you want or need.

Money and Stewardship

Let’s face it: Money is a problem for most families; most of us do not have as much as we want. Families are often more focused on money problems than they would like to be. I think it is partly because of poor decision making and planning. Families with a huge weight of debt are families who struggle. Families who handle their money properly—whether they are rich, poor or in-between—are much happier and healthier. Money may not be able to buy you love, but it is one of the most common sources of conflict in marriages and one of the missing topics when learning about parenting for positive results. Perhaps the most sobering financial statistic of all is the Gallup poll finding that 56 percent of all divorces are the result of financial tension in the home!

Here are some great questions to ponder as you think about finances and your family.

  1. When you were growing up did your family have any kind of a financial stewardship plan?
  2. What have you done to teach the concept of stewardship to your children?
  3. What decisions do you need to make as a family about your finances?
  4. What is the significance of the follow Scripture? How can these words of Jesus help your family with your finances?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….” “No one can serve two masters…Either they will hate the one and love the other, or they will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:21, 24)

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

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