Monday, September 1, 2008

Teaching Moments at Ordinary Moments

Recently we've had several examples of teaching moments for our girls that came with ordinary life. No text books or curriculum could have been a better example.

Shayla and I have been learning about Cain and Abel. I don't think she had a good understanding of why God was more favorable to Abel than Cain because of their sacrifice choices. We read the story in the Bible, I read Bible storybooks to her, we sang songs, we even put on a puppet show with paperbag puppets of Cain and Abel, but she just wasn't getting the grasp.

This weekend when we had homemade chicken nuggets (Shayla's absolute favorite), Grandma asked Shayla if she would share a nugget from her plate since Shayla had more than anyone. Shayla agreed to share, but she looked over the nuggets and decided on the smallest piece. I explained to her that was what Cain did. He gave the least of sacrifices, but Abel gave the biggest and best.

Let's just say, she now understands the lesson. She wasn't happy about being compared to Cain, but, oh well.

The second teaching moment came for our daughter, Morgan.

Our family has been making more financial decisions this year and we've tried to include the whole family on all levels of understanding. By the grace of God, we've been able to pay off all consumer debt.

Anyway, Morgan was holding money for a friend at an amusement park this summer. He forgot about it and she hasn't seen him until recently to give it back. In the meantime, she "accidently" spent it.

Now, I know I could just give her $21, but what would that teach her. I have given her a list of chores to complete to earn to pay back her debt. Last week, she wanted money for the concession stand during the football game. Sorry, you'll have to pack snacks from home. That's what your allowance is for...extras.

She said, "But, I don't get allowance now."

I said, "Yes, and like us as adults, you have to make sacrifices when you have debt. You can not rest until your debt is paid in full."

Another lesson learned. She was not real happy either, but honestly, I did have gatorade, juice pouches, individual packs of cookies and cheese and crackers. She wasn't really doing without.

Part two of this same teaching lesson came yesterday when Grandma was telling us about another family member going shopping for a state-of-the-art, big screen tv. This same family member is behind on house payments. Morgan, at 14, understood that was not a wise decision.

And yet part three of this lesson came yesterday when son of family member came and was talking about buying a boat, an old gun, or a violin. We tried to discuss with him that these are hard times and he should be saving his money. Now he doesn't have more than a few days worth of food in his place, he is a temp worker, he has no health insurance and his vehicle is old and could need repairs at any time. Grandma heard the same story, at that time she informed him that the hospital was calling her wanting him to make a payment on his delinquent account.

I'm not saying that we are better than any of these people. We all know none of us are perfect. We have our issues and we've only become financially "enlightened" this year, but they were good examples of everyday things to teach our children financial stewardship and responsibility.

Have you ever found life to be a textbook for teaching your children? Please share your experiences!

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