By: Diana Bryant
One of my favorite Sunday School classes ever was a group of tenth through twelfth grade girls several years ago. We studied scripture, but we also spent quite a bit of time applying scriptural principles to their everyday life situations. We discussed, analyzed, and looked for principles from God’s Word to apply to the many choices they were facing as they prepared for independence, college, and career choices.
One area we examined was finances. The girls were just starting part time jobs and were enjoying having cash to spend. Even then, some had more, some had less. Some had to use their earnings for their school basics, while some were able to use their paychecks however they wanted.
This critical period in the lives of our young women is an excellent time to instill biblical principles concerning the use of money. While they still have somewhat of a safety net, there are so many things we need to teach them. They can learn from the things we say, examples we give, and from mistakes they make.
*Talk about giving. Give them projects to support and goals to meet. When giving becomes a habit with a small amount from a small paycheck, it’s easier for it to stick when the amounts grow.
*Teach them that being wise with their money gives them choices. If you’ve spent carefully, many times you can choose to go or not go, do or not do, or buy friends birthday presents if you want. A bad credit score severely limits your choices in many ways. Learning to delay gratification is a valuable life skill, so teach the satisfaction of saving for things they want.
*Share how you make financial decisions. Share examples of God’s provision in your life. Share times you’ve made the wrong decision and what the consequences were. You don’t have share all the details, but teach them that all actions have consequences. That applies to financial decisions as well – some short term, and some with longer lasting effects.
*Above all, teach them that everything we have comes from God and we are to be good stewards of it all – time, money, talents, possessions, everything! While finances are necessary, our security and value are not in how much money we have, it comes from God alone. A valuable truth!