On our street the neighborhood children have been buying and selling things. It started as an idea for raising money for a charity project at one of the schools, and it has evolved into a new diversion.
It’s been interesting to see the things children value, but it’s also been interesting to see the approaches to selling and bartering. Last night at the dinner table our children related that there was something very precious that one of the children was selling– very rare and worth a lot of money. It cost fifty cents. When we asked what it was, they said it was an award pin that the neighbor child had won because of some academic achievement at school.
If it’s so precious, why does he want to sell it? They weren’t sure. Finally David said slowly, “Maybe he doesn’t really think it is valuable.” We talked about how sometimes people don’t understand the value of something (like an award pin, which has significance to the person that earned it, but not usually intrinsic value)
They were surprised that the Bible talks about selling and trading, about taking advantage of poor people, about deception as a buyer and seller. It has been a good ongoing conversation about value and love.
How do my thoughts and actions reveal what is important to me?Truth be told, many of my thoughts and actions revolve around my self and my own comfort. Praying that my priorities would reflect God’s priorities.
This is not related, but I am curious. When did you start allowing your children to play with neighborhood children? We have some pretty rough kids in our neighborhood, but some sweet ones too, and my eldest has been wanting to play with some of them. I know that well before 5 I was playing with the girl across the street, but for my own kids it makes me nervous.
Nicole, I think every neighborhood and Christian family is different. This is the first neighborhood we’ve lived in that had children to play with, really. They don’t go into other people’s houses (I’ve made exceptions), and I usually am outside while they play (we live on a cul de sac so they ride bikes in the street, usually). Our goal is to make sure they’re spending far more time with kids from Christian homes, and I’m picky about even that.
That said, I think that we must use similar principles that we use when evaluating our own friends. The Bible is clear that our close friendships should be with other believers– wise believers. So friends are a top priority for us. It is a matter of earnest prayer. We pray for friends their own age, but we also pray about friends who are a little older, who wield enormous influence. We choose our adult friends with our children in mind. I will sacrifice to make sure they’re at events with other Christian kids. I believe strongly that God will provide good friends for our children (he always makes a way of escape) but I think it needs to be a priority.
I have been thinking on the friend thing a lot lately. I spend a lot of time in N’s classroom (on purpose) and I have noticed I am not that impressed with the girls she claims is her ‘best’ friend. They are 4 and 5 so I realize there is a lot of maturing to go on, but still, the behavior habits are not good. I haven’t felt it is time to come down and so ‘no’ to the friendship, but I am less prone to wanting to set up playdates with the child and such. My goal this summer is to set up playdates with kids in the class who come from solid families and see how those play out. Sadly, all but one are boys, and we’re getting to the age where we don’t want to play “boy things.” Thankfully, we have church friends who are girls, but they live far so that requires more planning.
I think allowing interaction with neighborhood children outside while I am there is good. I recall things I saw and heard in people’s homes as a child I don’t want my girls seeing or hearing. . .
Sorry, thanks for letting me ramble 🙂
A little off topic, but I have noticed our kids, especially our CEO daughter wanting to make things to sell. She is constantly coming up with things to sell. Some good (like bookmarks) some not so good (like kleenix that she monograms with the sewing machine (sans thread):) I struggle with the idea of selling these things as I’m not sure this might be taking advantage of children who might give her a quarter or two for something I think is worth a penny at best, yet I like the idea that she is entrepreneurial and struggle with discouraging her in that. Part of me doesn’t want her hurt when people reject her creation as well. So far I’m not doing a very good job of instructing her in this area. Any help? I like your idea of going to the scriptures regarding buying, selling, bartering. Did you find many of those in Proverbs?
Laura– There’s a lot in Proverbs. I’ll see if I can compile the ones we talked about.