Awhile ago, a mentor of my husband’s related a story in which his teenaged daughter told a friend “We can’t afford that.” This doctor was pleased that his daughter, not having an entitlement attitude common among wealthy young people, truly thought herself poor, even though the family was substantially well off.
I’ve been mulling that anecdote in my mind for a number of years. This friend deliberately and successfully withheld information about the family’s financial situation from his children. There’s a sense where I like this. The family clearly had a different lifestyle than others with similar wealth. At the same time, if the children thought that the only thing holding them back from certain purchases was a lack of funds, was the experiment truly successful? What if that daughter grew up and married a man who was also wealthy? Would she have learned the same fiscal restraint her father demonstrated? Would it have been better to be more transparent with his children in order to teach them to handle money?
I want to start a series on money and children. At breakfast, we’ve been talking for the last few weeks on Luke 12, an amazing chapter when teaching biblical principles of money to children. I have lots of questions I’ve been asking myself. The first question I want to talk about is, as a Christian, how transparent should I be with my children about financial matters?
Just a note on this….we found ourselves telling the kids we couldn’t purchase things because we didn’t have enough money. This left the children talking about how they were going to make lots of money so they could have these things. We realized we needed to change our “we can’t afford it” to “we don’t think that’s a good use of God’s money”. Just a little 2 cents. : )
I’ve been trying to say “it’s not a wise use of our money right now.” Sometimes I do say we don’t have the money because it is true… But I also say we don’t need certian things.
Laura, I’ve also been interested in how our children react to their perceptions. Your children’s verbal reactions are probably similar to many other children (although they articulated it so well!)
You’re right, Maya, that sometimes “we dont’ have the money right now” is true and the right thing to say. Good to see you around!