Financial provision. We are all working to obtain it. Anxious when we don’t see it in our bank accounts. And fearful when a need remains unmet. Especially now.

This season, our children are watching to see how we handle financial stress. Some families consider the credit card their source. Some look to a higher power for wisdom and guidance. For open doors and opportunities. What are we revealing to our little ones?

Teaching sound financial principles is one of the most important foundations we can offer our children. We all need money to live. Electricity, heat, water, food … the basics. Knowing how to access and manage these finances can make the difference between a lifetime of need or a lifetime of giving.

This holiday season as we think about how to honor friends and loved ones through gift-giving, let us focus and give more value to a few things that money cannot buy.

1. Certainly “time” is at the top of this list. All the money in the world cannot buy us one more moment in the day. Nor can it extend a life. And teaching children to value their time – explaining the importance of purposely planning how they will spend this non-renewable currency – stimulates a heart of gratitude for a life yet lived. Selfishness is abated and confidence increases. A child-centered conversation may look something like this:

“God has given you this holiday to enjoy and to give to others. Who will you help today? Tomorrow? What will you do? How will you do it?”

2. Second on the things-that-money-can’t-buy list is “thankfulness.” Encouraging children to be thankful for what they already have requires some planning and skill. By nature, children are focused on their own wants and needs – aware only of the little world in which they live. By bringing to their attention the realization that there are children in their midst who do not have new clothes, access to this computer or smart phone, a warm bed, or enough food, enlarges their world. They can then see outside of themselves and consider their place in meeting the needs of others. An expanded worldview takes hold.

3. And thirdly, as we give more value to the things that money cannot buy, let us teach our children to value “peace.” No amount of money can calm a troubled soul. Or a broken heart. Or a life tormented by fear. The peace that dwells in a home centered on God is priceless. No raised voices. No insults. No emotional pain. It is a home filled with trust and love. Fearless in all circumstances. Strong in every situation. United in word and deed. It’s a home you can depend on. A place of safety. A place … of grace.

Three things money cannot buy this holiday season?

  • time
  • thankfulness
  • peace

As for all the other gifts, well, they are just “stuff.”

For more information on this topic, please read our 4-part series entitled “Parenting in a Changing World.

( A Christmas Classic)

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