“Let’s talk about the money, money, money”
Kathryn Kane suggests ways to talk about money with your children or teens.
As a child I learnt about giving in Sunday School, not through any formal teaching, but through the collection. Every week an elderly gentleman called George would play “Hear the pennies dropping” on a slightly out of tune piano. As we sung about giving our pennies to Jesus, a collection bag was passed up and down the rows of adult-sized chairs in the large, dusty church hall for us to make our contribution. I was given 2 or 3p which I dutifully put in the bag.
If it had stopped with this act, I would never have learnt the joy of giving. I would have missed out on what I learnt from what happened next. You see, after all the pennies were gathered together we would say the prayer “Yours Lord is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty; for everything in heaven and on earth is yours and of your own do we give you,” which is lifted from 1 Chronicles 29:11 and is replicated in Common Worship. We learnt those words by heart and said them every week – they went deep.
“Everything in heaven and on earth is yours and of your own do we give you.” It’s easy to give when you realise you are only giving back that which you never really owned anyway. You are just returning that which always belonged to God in an act of worship.
Jesus frequently taught about money or used money to illustrate a point. It comes fourth in the topics that he most frequently taught on. The love of money can bring misery, but money can also be a blessing and giving bring joy.
Here are three suggestions of ways to talk about money and giving with your children or teens:
- Get in the habit of thanking and acknowledging God together as a family for all He has given, whether that is for the food you eat, the beds you sleep in, the money you are able to earn, or the breath you breathe, either as a prayer at meal times, at bedtime or in conversation through the day.
- Involve your children in your regular giving. Talk about why you give and how you give. When there is a special appeal or opportunity to give, such as the ALMA Covid/Lent appeal (https://www.give.net/lent2020), talk about why there is a need and pray together as a family about it and how much you’ll give. Come back together a few days later to make a decision together about your giving as a family.
- Encourage your children and teens to be good stewards of their finances, whether that is pocket money earned or money from gifts. John Wesley encouraged the Methodists to “Earn all you can (without causing harm to others); Save all you can (don’t squander what you have) and Give all you can”. Consider what that means and would look like together.