Helping our kids become wise money managers involves more than simply teaching them what to do. If we want the lessons to stick, we have to get their hearts involved.
“Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
So many of the messages of our consumer culture are aimed squarely at the heart—at our identity, our sense of self-worth, and our hope for happiness. And those messages are aimed at our kids’ hearts as well.
What’s a parent to do? Fill our kids’ hearts with the Truth of God’s Word.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds.” – Deuteronomy 11:18
As soon as your kids are able to memorize Scripture, I strongly encourage you to work in some essential verses about money. Here’s a key verse for each of the main financial topics.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.” – Proverbs 3:9, NKJV
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” – Proverbs 21:20
“Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5, TLB
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” – Luke 16:10
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1
That last one—making sure our kids know who they are—is the most important money management lesson of all. Our kids are not the brand of clothing they wear or the type of car they will one day drive. No matter what logo is on their clothing or where we can afford to take them on vacation, if they have placed their faith in Christ, they are children of God—fully loved, fully valued just as they are.
The rhythms of life
You don’t need to set up a chalkboard and hold classroom lessons on these verses. Just work them into the natural rhythms of your family’s life.
Maybe you’re teaching your two-year-old how to help with the laundry, showing him how to match socks of the same color. In the evening, as you’re getting him ready for bed, tell him what a good job he did and how that must surely please God. Then read him Colossians 3:23.
Or maybe you’re introducing your 12-year-old to investing. As you teach her about the stock market and show her how it moves up and down over time, tell her that the best approach to investing is a long-term approach. Then read her Proverbs 21:5 from The Living Bible.
If our kids’ hearts are filled to the brim with the Truth of God’s Word, there will be no room for the lies of the culture. They’ll know who they are: stewards or managers of God’s resources, wise builders. And as they stop to consider how a manager of God’s resources would make all manner of financial decisions, they will have a clear biblical framework to draw from.
For more guidance on teaching your kids about money, pick up copy of my new book, Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management.