Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Devotions

This book is a collection of stories from the life of Thomas S. Monson.  They are brief, and include stories from his childhood.  They are perfect to read aloud to your kids while waiting in the car, or while your kids eat breakfast, or right before bed, or any other time that you have just a minute.  The stories are charming and sweet and a beautiful way to learn about our beloved Prophet and the experiences that have shaped his testimony.

The book is out of print, but used copies can be purchased for pennies on Amazon.  It is also available for the Kindle.  It is a great addition to a family library.  


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching Financial Literacy

Do you remember in the Old Testament that the oldest son would inherit all that his father had?  The son would be responsible for taking care of his mother and sisters and any young siblings when his father died.  The oldest son would take ownership of the property that his father had been given by his father.  How intentional the father must have been to teach his oldest son good money skills!  How he must have taught, by word and example, the pitfalls of debt, gambling, laziness, envy and greed.  I can imagine him taking his son to work with him regularly to carefully teach him how to care for the land, and for his family.  For what the father had would become the stewardship of the son.  

At the end of the book Dave Ramsey co-authored with his daughter Rachel Cruze titled "Smart Money Smart Kids" Dave reminds parents today to be as intentional about teaching our children as the Old Testament fathers must have been with their first born sons so that our children will enjoy peace and success in their futures.  Their book covers the topics of work, saving, spending, giving, budgeting, debt, college, and contentment.  

We love Dave Ramsey.  By following his financial advice we have great financial peace in our home. That peace has blessed our marriage and our children.  I hope that our examples and our efforts to teach our children financial literacy and the value of hard work will bless our family tree, that they might have financial peace regardless of how much money they make.  

Last year for Christmas each of the kids over the age of 6 received one of these pocket dividers for their personal finances.  There is a section for savings, spending, tithing (with tithing envelopes), coupons and receipts.   It has been a great way to help our kids be responsible for their money.   

I finished the Smart Money Smart Kids book last night and wanted to jot down some ideas that I want to incorporate into our family:
  • Help teenagers open and manage their own checking accounts.  He suggests that instead of paying for all of your child's back to school expenses (for example) that you figure out how much you would normally spend- for the yearbook, for clothes, for fees, etc. and then write your child a check and have them deposit it and take care of their own expenses through their account.  Dave Ramsey's daughter told about when she received her first overdraft notice from the bank.  She was sure that her dad was going to freak out, but instead he quietly told her that the next day she needed to go to the bank, meet with the manager and apologize to him in person for lying about how much money she had in her account.  She did, and never bounced another check.  
  • Let our kids get experience giving our money.  Rachel Cruze told of a time that her mom asked her and her sister to take two less fortunate girls shopping for clothes at the mall.  Mom provided them with envelopes of money and the girls spent the day shopping with their new friends to find some new clothes.  Not only was it a reminder of the blessings that the Ramsey girls had, but it was a valuable lesson in the joy of giving!
  • Teach and model that our money, time and talents do not belong to us, but to God and that we must use them accordingly.  
  • Make ACT/SAT scores, and scholarship applications a part time job for our future high school students. 
  • Be more vocal about our desire that our children will avoid debt for their whole lives.  
  • Let our kids see us budget, save and spend.  We do those things, but it will help our kids if they see HOW we do it.  
  • Give our engaged children an envelope with the money that we have for their wedding.  Encourage them to budget and work together to spend it in a way that will honor both of their wishes.  When it's gone, it's gone.  If there is money left over it belongs to them.  What good practice for marriage!  
Another financial life lesson I want to teach our kids is to not make money off of other peoples misfortunes.  God cannot support us if what we are doing tears down his other children.  We need God's support!  So we will not make money selling drugs, alcohol, porn, etc.  We will not make money by ripping other people off or by being dishonest.  We will not take advantage of others or be dishonest.