Teaching stewardship is one of the many lessons you, as a parent, have the privilege of imparting to your children. The phrase “more is caught rather than taught” may be overused, but it certainly applies in this case. As a homemaker, you have many opportunities to practice stewardship as you make sure the needs of your household are met on the money that is coming in. This can be challenging, but as your children see you practice biblical attitudes and good stewardship of money and stuff, it will be easier for them to pick up those good habits and principles as well.
I love the Proverbs and the wisdom found in its passages. If you want to learn how to handle money and your belongings, spend much time in learning the principles found there. One of my favorite passages on caring for what God has entrusted to you(the definition of stewardship)is found in Proverbs 27: 23-27. “Know well the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds. For riches are not forever……….”
I don’t think there is any question as to whether God wants us to teach our children to manage money–the question is how? Here is a simple method we use in our home:
We paid our children, but we never just gave them an allowance. Money was tied to work so it was like receiving wages for chores done. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ In the real world, you work and you get paid. It’s that simple. If your children are young, it may be only a dollar a week. As they get older and do more work for you, increase their pay accordingly.
Now that your children are receiving money, teach them how to set up a budget. A budget can be set up even for a child who only receives a small amount. Help them write it down on paper and give them a math lesson in dividing up that dollar into three categories: giving, saving, and spending. So many lessons are taught by doing this such as saving up for what we want instead of instant gratification which leads to credit card debt in so many adults. It also teaches your child that money is to be handled in an accountable way, not lazily or carelessly.
As a young adult’s income increases, whether through you or an outside job, that child should begin buying his own items. Our oldest son began paying for his own schooling, clothing and vehicles before he hit twenty–in cash. This wasn’t hard because he had learned how to save for what he wanted. He also knew what he bought cost him something so he didn’t want to be careless with it. This is learning the principle of stewardship. You work hard, you earn money, you buy things that you worked hard for–what a great motivator for taking care of those possessions.
I know some of you are thinking you can’t do this for your children, especially if you have a large family. But I want to encourage you to think outside the box on this issue. We are not a wealthy family, by any means. We are an average blue collar family. But I manage to pay my children by figuring it into the budget. Think about it for a moment. You already budget money to spend on our children for items such as clothing, education, and entertainment. Why not take some of that money and give it to them directly so they can learn how to handle it and spend wisely. So let’s say you budget 100.00 a month for clothing for your family. Why not take $25.00 a month and give it directly to your son or daughter with the instruction that he or she will now begin budgeting for buying clothing. If you want to see your son make those jeans last, this will do the trick! He learns he can go buy brand new and spend the whole amount,try a resale shop and spend much less, or hit a yard sale and save about 90%. There’s just something about spending your own money that teaches a powerful lesson that can’t be learned when you’re freely spending someone else’s money!
This plan works–I have used it successfully with all four of my children and I can tell you each of them, down to the youngest, weighs carefully what they are going to spend their money on. They have all learned to save and the best part is they won’t go into a marriage without knowing how to operate on a budget. My husband and I wish we would have known what they know now when we were newly married. Begin now to teach your children stewardship so starting their own homes one day will be a little easier:)