What will Matter in 50 Years?
Adapted from Raising Financially Freed-Up Kids
Many things we do today will have little if any meaning in 50 years. Their effects are only temporary; most of them will be forgotten next month, let alone more than half a lifetime away. One exception to this is how we train our children financially.
We train our children in many ways – some intentional, some unintentional. We train them to love God and to love others, to be respectful and courteous, to be safe, to value learning, and in many other ways. But one of the most often neglected areas of life preparation is in the area of personal finances. Whether it’s discouragement over our own bad decisions, a perceived lack of expertise, or simply a lack of understanding of the importance of this key area of training, we shrink back. Unwittingly, we allow peers, advertisers, and the culture at large to train our children – and they will rarely impart the values we would hope for in our children.
Our kids are affected by a society suffering from affluenza, defined by psychotherapist Jessie O’Neill as a “painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more and more stuff.”(1) O’Neill sees the following effects of affluenza on our kids:
- Loss of personal productivity
- Loss of future motivation
- An inability to delay gratification
- A false sense of entitlement
- Loss of self-confidence
- Compulsive, addictive behaviors
Our children can be impacted by any or all of these effects. But the biggest risk of abundance is to our kids’ spiritual lives. As the nation of Israel demonstrated over and over again in the Old Testament, abundance tends to make us forget God, whereas need tends to make us depend on him.
The good news is that if we as parents take seriously the task of training our children financially, we have a great chance of offsetting or preventing these consequences of affluenza.
How are the parents in your congregation doing with training their children financially? Do they feel equipped and empowered to make a difference in their kids’ lives in this area? Do they need help? If you’re looking for a way to come alongside the parents in your congregation to help them in this crucial area of raising up their children, check out Raising Financially Freed-Up Kids. We’d love to support you in this key endeavor!
- O’Neill, Jessie H. The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence. Manassas: Affluenza Project, 1997.