Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6—Be like Richie, not McDuck

If only money could
grow on trees ...

            "Show me the money."  Isn't that what life is all about?  Success and happiness are measured in dollars.  Everything is geared toward income, especially education.  Many people think that any type of education that will not directly lead to an income is unnecessary and a waste of time.  Just ask any guidance counselor.  Students who do not seem to be a good fit for a bachelor's degree are guided toward vocational classes and only a minimum of classes such as literature or history.  I mean, why does a mechanic need to know anything about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow or Archduke Ferdinand?  At the same time, a student who is clearly college bound is often not allowed to take vocational classes because they would be a waste of time.  Of course, everyone knows college will get a student a better paying job than a vocational school.  Well, that's not exactly true.  Just like it's not true that college bound students do not need vocational classes or that students bound for trade school will not need benefit from literature.  Even so, the primary motive behind these decisions is earning money.

            The struggle never ends.  Does a woman work full-time or part-time outside the home?  The choice of being a full-time at-home mom is rarely given an opportunity.  Why?  Money.  Some parents may work overtime to the extent they rarely sees their children.  They think they can "catch up" with their children later. 

            Sometimes employees feel they have no choice in how much overtime they must take and keep their job.  Other times that is not the case.  Yet, a person in a minimum pay job does not realistically have a choice not to take overtime; it can become a matter of survival.  This is not about those situations.

            What about money when it is not tied to a job but to "extras"?  The world says, "Get the latest and best phone."  "That $300 purse is an investment; it will last longer than a $30 purse."  "No one needs to drive a rust-infected car.  It's time to upgrade."  The list goes on.  The conclusion for each of these choices is that money is the key to everything.

            What does the Bible say?

            I Timothy 6:10  "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

            Hebrews 13:5  "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" 

            Ecclesiastes 5:10  "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. …"

            These verses are self-explanatory.  This is a matter of the heart.  Unfortunately, an attitude of the heart cannot be changed overnight.  When it comes to money and its place in your life, I believe it is a lifelong struggle.  Considering our family's income level when compared to the number in our family and considering that most of what I own is second hand, on the surface, it would appear as if I do not have a struggle with possessions.  A surface appearance is often misleading, and it is misleading here as well.  Although I do not struggle with the temptation to own $300 purses or to even pay for someone to cut the hair of anyone in my family, materialism still lingers in my bones. 

            Unfortunately, this "illness" or attitude begins very young.  I guess you could say it comes from our inborn sinful desire of coveting.  Then what hope is there for your children?  A great deal of hope.  First, you are going to provide a wonderful example of deciding priorities and needs based on a number of factors with money only being one of them, and not the most important factor.  Right?  Isn't this the toughest part of being a parent?  We want to just tell our kids what they should do and have them do it.  We do not want to live it.

            Your Turn:  In some of the recent blogs, I have given examples of conversations you can have with your child on the given topic, but I do not know if that has been helpful.  On the other hand, I do not want to continue to do that if you feel it is a waste of your time.  Let me know what you think.  Better yet, if you want to share your example of a possible conversation, I would love to read it! 

            Otherwise, take the time now to evaluate your attitude on money and its importance in determining your decisions.  This is going to be harder than you think, and you may be surprised.  Then examine your children's requests and habits.  Are they motivated by money?  By money, I am also referring to material possessions.  Maybe I should have made this clear earlier, but isn't that one of the main reasons for accumulating wealth/money?  To get more stuff?  To accumulate more experiences that only money can buy?

            When I was young, I read through a massive amount of varied comic books (except the super hero versions).  Since they were cheap at that time, comics were sold by the box full at garage sales.  One version featured Scrooge McDuck; another series had Richie Rich.  For Scrooge, money was the most important aspect of life and was to be pursued at all costs.  On the other hand, Richie Rich may have had wealth with a greater value than McDuck.  Even so, Richie Rich did not have a love of money like McDuck.  He appreciated what he had and was willing to share generously.  Having enough wealth so you can "show me the money" is not a bad situation.  Having money be the center of your life is.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


  1. We've said many times we wish we made more money so we could give more money. It's so hard to give in faith with what we have, but it's an important lesson we want to pass on to our kids. Regardless of how much we make we will always try to teach our kids to give generously and be good stewards of whatever God gives.

    With that said, it is hard sometimes! We are generally careful with money, but I put a lot of stock in STUFF. I shop at yard sales because I'm cheap, but I bring all kinds of stuff into my home trying to make it nice and inviting, but it's hard for me to remember that that is not the most important thing. :)

  2. Maintaining balance is difficult, but you seem to have a nice balancing act going on. I applaud your performance. :-)