Friday, September 18, 2009

A Mom's Dreams Fro Her Kids

I was asked about what I hope for my children, and how I hope for them to turn out in regard to their finances and financial status.

There are a lot of beliefs and ethics that we want to instill in our children, many relating to money, but all directly from the Bible. So, here they are, in no particular order.

Do not go into debt, which is slavery. If you can't afford something, you just aren't supposed to have it.
"The borrower is servant to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7B
Do not desire more than you need, which is greed.

"Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." -Luke 12:15
Trust God with all that you have and don't have. God is real smart and knows what he's doing. There is never a reason to not trust him.

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!" -Matthew 6:30
Work hard toward your goals and for your money. Working half-heartedly reflects poorly on your faith.

"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." -1 Corinthians 10:31
Don't pass up on your passions because of money. If it is what God has for you to do, it will be provided for. Think Paul.

Give generously and thankfully, as much as possible.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." -2 Corinthians 9:7
Don't be wasteful as that is bad stewardship of the gifts and resources given. You were raised amongst the wealthiest in the world, although we may seem poor to American standards. Having been raised in this culture of wealth and affluence puts a responsibility on you to use your resources, which are plentiful, wisely.
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." -Luke 12:48B
Seek happiness in the only place it can be truly found in an enduring way, in our Savior. Do not be deceived into believing money will add anything to the happiness that Christ offers.
"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." -Philippians 3:8
Do I want them to be poor, like me?

I am wealthier than 85% of the world. I am not poor. I just might be poorer than you. I will have no problem with my children living humbly and and happily, as my husband as I do, and not seeking after those "American dreams."

What if one of my kids wants to be rich?

If they want to gain wealth so that they can give generously, we support that. If they want to enter the corporate world in order to influence others to seek after Christ, that is a noble effort. If they seek wealth in order to pursue their own lusts and greeds, we will most certainly feel as though we had raised them poorly.

I consider gaining wealth through hard work and pursuing a career you love different from "wanting to be rich." If one of my children gained wealth this way, I would still hope that they live by all the principles listed above.

What are your hopes for your children financially?


Sheila said...

I love this post. What I hope for my children financially is that they will always be content with what they have, and that their happiness will come from things that are not material. I struggle with wanting them to have enough money to be 'secure', but I know that it is far more important to be content than it is to have money in the bank. I want them to know that they have to work for things that they have (financial or otherwise). I want them to know that it is right to have to work for what they get. But I hope that they (and I!) will always know that we deserve nothing - no matter how hard we work, and that everything we have is a gift of God and by His grace.

DarcyLee said...

There is such a big difference between our needs and our wants, isn't there? God never said that we would get everything we want but He did mention our needs. BIG difference! I get a little tired of the teaching that is common in many circles that if you aren't doing well (according to American standards) financially, then you must not be "right with God."

Anonymous said...

In addition to what you've written, I want my children to be able to provide for themselves and their families.

1 Timothy 5:8
"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

I believe that God helps those who help themselves, and that while you should trust that God will provide, you should do everything in your power to provide for yourself. God has blessed us each with marketable skills and the ability to earn a good wage and provide for ourselves. We should not squander these blessings.

The Pittsburgh Pair said...

I am a frequent reader of your blog and am intrigued. Although we do not have the same views at all, I wanted to know if you have a college degree. I know that your husband does. If you do not have a college degree, what did you do for a living prior to getting married and starting a family?

I generally agree with everything in this blog except for this statement "Do not go into debt, which is slavery. If you can't afford something, you just aren't supposed to have it."

What about a college education? Without it, people simply continue the cycle of poverty. You can imagine why it is necessary to borrow for the degree as it may yield a large return investment while working at an unskilled job may never let a person get ahead.

Lori said...

I want my son to embrace people of many faiths, colors, beliefs and religions, realizing that from such comes understanding and growth.
I want him to know that there is a difference between disagreement on an issue and hatred of a person.
I want him to know that he is loved, and that he is free to love others just as much.
I want him to know that whatever makes his heart and soul happy is what he is being drawn to do, and that his parents will always support that. I found my passion in kindergarten, but didn't realize that it was what I was meant to do until I was in 8th grade. If I can help him see his dreams sooner, I would be happy.
I want him to enjoy his work, and to have that work make him as comfortable as he wishes to be.

Anonymous said...

I loved your post. It's apparent that you work hard and want the best for your children.

It's not so much about money, but rather the attitudes behind money that I find to be important. One can learn a lot about a person when the subject comes up. It's a window to the soul, so-to-speak.

Emily said...

Pittsburgh Pair, I went to one year of Bible college, and have a Bible Certificate, which means nothing in the job market. I owed my mom $2000 when I got out (I paid for the rest myself) and paid it off by the end of the summer, paying everything toward that debt, and it was slavery. I walked to work and didn't see any of my paycheck. (I was a grocery store cashier from high school until pregnancy.)

You can go to college without getting into debt, many do. It may take longer, you may have to go to a less expensive school, but that is what I would encourage my kids to do.

Devon said...

I am not attempting to play devil's advocate here, but I wanted to put in my two cents. I agree that debt is slavery, but there are some debts that I feel are *okay*, such as going into debt for school, or to purchase a home. The years it would take us to save the 150,000 for an entry level home around here would take our whole lifetimes, and I would rather get a mortgage, pay it off as quickly as I could through scrimping, and then get busy building equity that will have a big payoff when I want to sell.

Also, for school debt--yes, we are paying on a loan for my husband's schooling, but it's a government loan--35.00 a month. Will we be paying it forever? It seems like it, but because of that loan my husband brings in a significantly larger amount of money than we have to pay on it. In addition, some schools (trade schools, mostly) will not permit you to take your time--it's an all or nothing shot, all at once.

Also, what about medical debt? Some debts you can't avoid.

Not trying to be a pain--just thought I'd bring those up. BTW, I really enjoy your blog and have learned a lot from it!

Emily said...

Devon, I agree some debt, such as medical debt, may be necessary without being unethical.

Trade schools, which may have time restrictions, are the least expensive, and it could be payed for with the student working while in school. Yes, college is an investment, but not one that you need to go into debt for.

The same is true with a home. If you can pay down a thirty year mortgage in ten years through scimping, why not save for eight years then buy the home, saving yourself the interest.

Emily said...

I would also like to add that I don't expect other people to live by this.

Berean Wife said...


Your financial goals for your children are very wise. You cannot go wrong if you strive to use the Bible as your guideline.

When I have been asked about my goals (albeit general, instead of just financial), I have often said the following:

My goal for my children is for them to love and serve the Lord in all that they do while exhibiting a Christ-like attitude. But in doing so it doesn’t matter to me one bit if they have a college education or if they are rich by the world’s standards. I would prefer my son to be the lowest paid garbage man or janitor and be in favor with God than to be a Noble Laureate neurosurgeon who forsakes his Lord.

As to the question about college, cannot the owner of a thousand cattle provide for those whom He desires to attend college?

Psalms 50:10-12
10 For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.

College is not necessary to be able to support a family well, many of the world’s richest people did not graduate from college such as Michael Dell who started Dell Computers, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, etc. If the Lord desires for your child to pursue a college degree, he can do so without entailing debt. You can become even a doctor without being bound by debt if you use the US military options or the Underserved Area options. You agree to serve for an average of four years after graduation in the military or in a poor underserved area such as the Appalachian Mountains.

Berean Wife

Penny Saver said...

"College is not necessary to be able to support a family well, many of the world’s richest people did not graduate from college such as Michael Dell who started Dell Computers, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, etc."

This is not correct. Michael Dell attended the University of Texas in Austin. Bill Gates attended Harvard. Walt Disney and Henry Ford didn't attend college, but also live in our time, and the workforce was simply a different beast in their time. It is a much different world than it was in the late 1800s when Henry Ford was building his business!

I don't think everyone needs to attend a 4 year university to be a success, but some kind of vocational training or trade would certainly benefit them in being able to make a living and raise a family.

Encouraging your children to find options for education is fine and hopefully they'll be able to get scholarships and grants, but reasonable student loan debt, like a mortgage, is often the price to getting into the career of one's dreams and I don't think it is comparable to unsecured debt, like credit cards.

Berean Wife said...

Penny Saver,

My original statement was that those men did not graduate from college. While it is true a few did attend. They attended because that was what was expected and due to parental pushing.

Michael Dell, who started Dell Computers, dropped out of college at 19 to be able to run the business he had already started.

Bill Gates attended Harvard mostly so he could have access to their computer systems. He was just haphazardly taking courses. Shortly after having begun college, he got his parents to agree that he could stop in order to start his business Microsoft, he never returned to college.

Or how about Milton Hershey who with only a fourth grade education started Hershey’s. Ty Warner the creator of Beanie Babies also did not have a college education.

Our colleges are multi-billion dollar industries who work hard at pushing the idea that a college education is necessary to succeed well in life. But the business society is no different than it has ever been. Business rewards those who work hard, strive to succeed and are self directed instead of just being told what to do.

My own son who is 17 and graduated from homeschool high school last May yet is not attending college. He works for Microsoft as a distributor, designs websites, and runs a server hosting websites, in his free time. In addition, he has a full time job doing job bids for DOT (Department of Transportation) work. He has to have an older employee sign his bids because he is under 18 and not considered a legal adult, yet. Since he started working as a 16 year old, he has bought three computer systems, software and still has saved $20,000 for the future. All without debt nor the plans to ever be in debt, even a mortgage.

Succeeding can be done and done well, if we use Scripture as our guide and not the world’s ideas.

Berean Wife

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Berean Wife. That's exciting to hear about your son's hard work and success, without college.

Having the desire for a life without debt is something I believe God does bless. There are circumstances (particularly medical come to mind) where it's difficult for many, and that has a lot to do with our health system. I continue to read examples though of those who succeed in life without ANY debt (including no mortgage), so it must be possible!

My dh makes a smaller income and we are in minimal debt. We don't have a lot of material wealth, but God has blessed us greatly because we choose His path, not the world's.

Emily said...

YAY Berean Wife! I wanted to come to your defense, but I haven't had a chance to look all those people up. (: I'm glad you came back. I hope my children turn out as yours are.

K said...

I think it's wonderful that these people were able to succeed without a college education! However, there are some fields that require certain levels of education - I am a Registered Nurse and I am pretty sure my patients appreciate my education :)

Berean Wife said...


No one said that a college degree is not necessary for some career choices. The issue is the assumption that:

1) A College degree is required in order to succeed and support a family.

2) That pursuing a college degree requires debt.

I just pointed out that a college degree is not a requirement to succeed and support a family. I mentioned famous people because those are names people will recognize, you wouldn’t know my Uncle Gary. :)

If a college degree is desired, going into debt in order to obtain it, is not required. As I pointed out there are many ways in order to obtain a college degree without going into debt. Military or Underserved areas being one option. A person desiring to become a nursing student can obtain an entry level job at a hospital and the hospital will pay college expenses for each level an employee strives for. So an assistant can become a CNA, EMT, LPN and then an RN on the hospital’s money, without debt. They could even go on to become a doctor if so desired.

The point of Emily’s post is that she is desiring to teach her children to 1) Trust God, 2) Work hard as unto the Lord, 3) Be content and 4) Be obedient to God’s Word, which means financially to stay out of debt. Who can fault those desires?

Berean Wife

P.S. Emily - Praying the Sciatica gets much better.

Penny Saver said...

Berean Wife, I agree with your basic premise that a college degree isn't strictly necessary to support a family - many people, including my husband, support families without it. Also, I agree that debt isn't strictly necessary to get a college education. I am completing my Bachelor's degree now in my 30s because I couldn't afford to do it all at once as a young adult and didn't want to take on the debt. However, my husband and I both feel that we would be struggling less now had we completed college as young adults, as it is much harder now with the responsibilities of children and a home.

The time involved in working through college can put a person far behind the curve in establishing a career. That's where I am now - no debt, but I'll be 10 years later than my peers in graduating and beginning my career, and that will affect how much I am able to accomplish in my working years. I think this falls into Emily's idea of "Don't pass up on your passions because of money." Sometimes a reasonable amount of student debt is the way to obtain entry into one's passions.

In our area, one can't get an entry level assistant job at the hospital and move up. My mom is an RN and her hospital (one of the largest networks in the region) is laying off all LPNs. If the LPNs were already in college toward their RN license on their own dime, they get to keep their jobs. None are getting financial assistance toward college at this point, and those who weren't already in college are simply unemployed now. There are ways to pay to become an RN, but working your way up isn't available everywhere.

Finding financial aid, scholarships, grants, and other ways to pay for college are wonderful ways to reduce costs. Taking courses at community college while in high school is free in my state, so one could potentially get the Freshman year of college done over high school summers for free.

Another alternative for young people in high school is to take AP tests, which count as college courses at many universities. A very diligent student with good test skills could possibly shave off another year of college by taking available AP classes. Those two combined could put a determined student at the junior level coming out of high school, saving a great deal of money at universities.

I want my children to be content and work hard, but I want them to learn from my hardship and get through college (which is expected of them) to give them the best opportunity at a life without the financial hardship that we're in now. I'll do my best to help them get through college as debt-free as possible, but don't expect them to do it without financial aid, as I will not be able to fully fund it and won't want them to have to wait like I have to get started!

(Whew, that was LONG!)

Emily said...

I'm going to jump back in here on the "Don't pass up on your passions because of money." As I said in the post: "If it is what God has for you to do, it will be provided for. Think Paul." I think Berean Wife's examples of those that don't go to college are an excellent example of what I was talking about in the job world.

Also, although I don't get into it much on this blog, I want my chidren to be like the apostle Paul. I want them to forsake all for Christ. Yes, some, if not most or all, will probably have mainstream careers, but I don't want those carrers to be their primary passions, as Paul's tentmaking was not his primary passion.

Stacy said...

I am enjoying this blog, and the alternative perspective it offers. Thank you.

I'm very conflicted reading the above posts. I have worked in education for the past sixteen years, first at the college level and now in high school. I have a B.A. and M.A. and am now a high school teacher. I mention those things just to explain that education has been such an important part of my life, and the life of my husband. It is so hard for me to think of getting an education as simply a way to train to make a living. Yes, that's a major reason to pursue it. It's the most practical one too. However, isn't it also important to pursue it to train yourself to be a person of both faith AND reason by learning from those who have done so far longer than you have? And shouldn't you pursue that development of your character in the place that best provides it, given your chosen field and area of study--at least within reason? So what if the place where you can best learn "X" (whatever you are studying) happens to be a private and not a public school? What if you are called to seminary and it's a full time program? What if what if...etc. I just think it's a very limited view of education to simply think of it as a training school for a job, and to only make the decision, or mostly, based on whether you can pay for it outright.

On the other hand, I can see the wisdom in that approach I said, I'm conflicted about this topic.

Thanks for listening.

Emily said...

Stacey, if one of our kids want to go to college, and for a higher degree, they surely can. It may take them a little longer, or they may have to apply for more scholarships. We want our children to be intelligent and reasoning people, but their character is MORE important to us. I think you can be thoroughly intelligent without college, but some careers and passions may necessitate college. As far as public vs private, many have excelled out of state colleges, and I don't see that being a big issue. You can't always have the best option, and they'll have to work harder to get a superior eduction from a possibly inferior school. I'm okay with that. It's an interesting topic, for sure, and one that I may devote more time to in this blog. Thanks for your perspective.

Anonymous said...

You haven't said anything about social integration and I know it wasn't the goal of this post. Because you plan to home school your children how do you plan on letting them explore talents in the fields of music, sports, and theater? Do you have family (nieces/nephews) nearby that they interact with now? Or do you participate in play groups?

Emily said...

Anon, I've added a question about sociaization to the Frequenty Asked Questions page, so when I write on it, I'll link it up there.

Stacy said...

Related to the topic above, regarding homeschooling and integration, I think there is much to discuss. As a teacher at college and high school levels, I've had a pretty consistent experience with homeschooled kids. This is not always true, but usually seems to be--they are often excellent students, thoughtful, hardworking, and advanced. However, they also are often very introverted and sometimes awkward. The best cases are probably those in which that student manages to express his or her natural extroversion anyway through other activities (church, sports, etc.), or if he or she was already introverted and is simply being him/herself, naturally. They do get out of their "shells" usually. The worst cases are those in which the student is just maladapted to social life overall. Sometimes they are rude or self centered, and sometimes just painfully awkward. Sometimes, I see kids who, it's hard to say this without offending, have probably spent too much time with mom--usually boys. I think if mom has some idiosyncrasies or dysfunctionalities or whatever and the child, often a boy, has spent too much time with her day in and out, sometimes he's got some poor social skills by puberty. That's just something I've seen. It's kind of another issue, but kind of related. Boys especially need to have dad time, or man time, to do "manly" things. It sounds silly to say it that way, but I think it teaches him to be a boy-man in a good way.

Anyway, I know this is another topic, more about homeschooling, but I thought I'd offer it just in case it's of interest.

Emily said...

Stacey, you make some interesting points, and I will be addressing sociaization in full when I write about it. I think, though, that often a well behaved, quiet child may be mistaken for introverted or stuck in their shell, as a quiet and well behaved child looks odd compared to most other children. I agree about boys, and having a large family is a part of socialization, and it is all tied to the goals we have for our family. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it when I do get around to posting it.

Berean Wife said...


Your comment about homeschooled children being smart, hardworking, but somewhat awkward in public is accurate. But here is something to think about. Why might the homeschooled students seem awkward when viewed in a public education setting?

My experience, 13 years of homeschooling and knowing homeschool families, is that the reason many homeschoolers seem awkward to others is that they are being judged according to the world’s standards. A very large majority of homeschooled families, homeschool for religious reasons and not always just for the educational reasons but also for the social reasons.

See my daughter when she was 12 might would seem awkward to a casual observer when in a group of public schooled girls. Why? Because she was not talking about the cute boy in class, talking on the cell phone to friends, listening to her MP3 player, etc. Now put that my child in a homeschooled group or with adults and they would discuss musical dynamics with the violin, the latest book they read (not Harry Potter or Twilight, but more like a Henty or Pilgrim’s Progress.), or the skirt she made. See with the average group of 12-year-old girls she would have no connecting points.

Take the average 12-year-old public schooled student and put them in a group of adults and they wouldn’t be able to discuss anything nor in general even be willing to. Public school children tend to only learn to communicate with students of their own age. Yet homeschooled students must interact with varying ages and adults much more frequently.

Now granted there are exceptions in both homeschooled and public schooled students. But on average you would find most homeschooled students much more mature and less childish in their inactions with others.

Berean Wife

Stacy said...

First, I should say that I am not a public school teacher. I teach at a private Christian high school, and previously at a private Christian college. So, the context in which I'm teaching, and my own background are not at odds, generally speaking, with the idea of homeschooling. I'm not at all predisposed to be critical of it. In fact, I think for some kids it is definitely a good idea. Or rather, for some kids and some parents.

But I've also noticed that some people are for it, no matter whether it's actually a good fit for them. It seems like some Christians, maybe a lot of Christians, have the view that the world is going to ruin their kids in school, so homeschooling is practically the only "righteous" option. However, I think this is a dangerous view to take. It seems to me that each situation should be clearly considered.

When I commented on the awkward or poorly adapted version of a homeschooled student, I was not talking about someone like your daughter, I think. I'd say she fits the positive picture version I mentioned. But I have seen, more than once, some clearly poorly-adapted kids. I know that homeschooling moms can be fiercely defensive about this possibility because it might reflect on them personally, but I'm just calling it as I see it. I'd say the majority are just like you described. However, there is a contingent who does not benefit from that environment personally or academically.

If the mom, since it usually is a mom but could be a dad has personality dysfunctions, emotional problems, lack of personal presence and supervision of the studies, lack of structure and discipline, lack of interest in or experience with rigorous academics, lack of interest in higher education (okay, that's just my biased opinion), paranoia about everything outside their home (I'm exaggerating, but I hope you know that) OR a poor ability to handle the academics themselves, then I think these things can lead to a poor academic and emotional education for the child. Believe me, I have seen this and it's not just a kid being introverted.

I really think that people need to take a balanced and realistic view, do some research not just on how to homeschool, but on the results of homeschooling, and really honestly get others to critique and assess their own suitability as homeschool teachers. Just get real, deal with who you really are and who your kids really are and talk to teachers and other successful homeschooling families. I've seen all too often that people just want to do it, no matter what because they fear the evil world. I agree there's a lot of evil out there, but fear is not the way to respond.

Lisa said...

Very good post. Most Americans cannot comprehend true poverty. Even on welfare people can expect AC, heat, fridge, food, clean water and medicine. That's not poverty!

Rosie said...

Hi, I just found your blog and find it very interesting. We share the same feelings regarding hopes for our children's futures and ideas of "real" success.

However, you say that you would feel that you'd raised your children poorly if they chose greed, etc. over a more God-centered life. Please understand that you cannot control what you're children will choose to be, no more than you can control their personality. You may be blessed one day with a child that God has given a "difficult" personality, or a child who, because of the ideas that he/she develops over time, does not share your values. You cannot control that. You can pray that it won't happen and walk the walk and talk the talk of God-centered living, but it would be a waste of breath to feel that you have a lot of control over what an adult chooses to do with his or her life.

I know this is true and I've seen a lot of parents pull their hair out over feelings of failure when things don't turn out as they'd planned. Life has a way of doing that. Nature and nurture are both a part of growing a child.

Good luck! I'm sure I'll check you're blog often to read about the progress of your family.

Eliza said...

I know that this is an old post but I just found your blog and have started at the beginning. So I'm sure no one will even read this but...
I read a few posts ago that your family was quite well off and that you have chosen to live differently. I have made a similar decision. My parents are well off also, so I have grown up privledged, my parents spent a lot of money on my private school education and we live in a wealthy area. I am getting married next year and do not wish to lead a lifestyle like theirs. It doesn't make you happy. I know that. But in my experience, people who aspire to be wealthy (who did not grow up that way) often don't understand why you don't want to be wealthy. I hate to see my friends go down this path but unfortunately some do want to have a lot of money. And I can't be positively certain that I wouldn't have those same goals if I hadn't experienced wealth. I just chose to turn my back on it. I chose God and I chose happiness. (My parents don't believe in God, I found Him myself and He helped me realise).
Anyway, I'm rambling. I like you, I'm going to continue to read your blog.

Emily said...

Eliza, I read all the comments. (: It sounds like we have much in common, coming from wealthier families that don't follow God and choosing a different path entirely. You and I were given a gift in seeing first hand that wealth cannot bring happiness, and it has saved me from hardship that those seeking wealth face. I hope it saves you from the same hardship. Congrats on your upcoming marriage!

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