Teaching Children to be Good Stewards?
My daughter, Coreen, told me about a special project she did with our grandson while she homeschooled him that will help him be a good steward of the gifts God gives him. The idea emerged when he said, “Mama, if I was still at my other school I’d be earning points for reading books that are within my reading level. Why don’t we do that?” She and her husband decided they would give him $.80 for each book that he read that was on the special book list. In addition to reading the book, he also had to demonstrate his comprehension by answering specific questions related to each story.
After he completed reading 15 books, she gave him the following math problem to solve. “You read 15 books. You receive 80 cents for each book that you read and comprehend. How much money does that total?” He figured out it was a multiplication problem, that he needed to multiply 80 by 15.
She explained to him he was to divide the money he had earned into four parts. One-fourth was to be saved. One-fourth was to invest. One-fourth was for him to share with others (at church or in the community) and the final fourth was for him to spend. She also explained they wanted him to learn to be a good steward of his finances and that dividing his money in this way would give him opportunities to be a blessing with his finances.
They discussed what type of coins or dollar bills he would need in order to divide his money into four equal parts. This was another math problem that he solved. When she took him to her bank to get the money she encouraged him to ask the bank teller for the specific amount of bills and coins he needed.
They took his money home. After a discussion about local community organizations, congregational needs, and mission projects, he was given the opportunity to decide where to give his “sharing” money. He decided to put it in an envelope and put it in the offering plate at his church. He learned that his “spending” money could have been used for a small purchase or he could save it for a large purchase in the future. He decided to put it in his bank and save it for a future large purchase.
She explained that he will receive interest, or additional money, by having his “saving” money in a savings account instead of keeping it in his bank at home. Once he shows responsibility with his savings account and learns about percentages in math class he will get to learn more about investing, until then, they decided to combine the “investing” money and “saving” money. (Because he was not yet doing math problems figuring out interest she did not ask him to figure out the interest. But older children might do this).
They then took a field trip to a credit union. This credit union allows children to open their own savings accounts. He was encouraged to fill out the paperwork, watch the money counting machine count his money, and ask questions as he opened his own special savings account. Plus, as we all try to get more up to speed with online banking and the concept of banking anywhere, something our children will become accustomed to, we now have Lutheran Federal Credit Union dedicated to LCMS, where an account can easily be opened online and from home, and funds can be easily transferred from parent to child accounts. Learn more at: www.lutheranfcu.org.
Do you want to teach your children about how to be good stewards of the gifts God gives them? Then consider a similar project with your child, grandchild or students.
Kay L. Meyer is the founder, president and host of Family Shield. Family Shield Ministries is a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. It airs its weekly radio program on 53 stations and reaches and equips individuals and their families for Christ. Learn more at www.familyshieldministries.com.