Season of Giving

November 24, 2020by Jon Dockery

The year of 2020 has brought so many new and unexpected situations. You always know that a new year will bring unexpected events, but how will you respond to them? With a kid in college, my family keeps coming across new steps we have never taken before, and they seem to be bigger and more impactful to his life. This week my son started asking about college housing options for the next year. He wants to live off campus, but he has high expectations for what that looks like. It may seem odd, but my first thought was that I had failed in some way and raised a child that felt entitled.

As it seems to happen, an article popped up on my email feed that addressed this topic. In the article “How to Not Financially Paralyze Your Children”, H. Dennis Beaver addresses “four key lessons children raised in affluent families need to learn.” I think in Maryville, TN, a lot of our children struggle with appreciating money due to their lack of struggle for it. So, how do we prevent this from happening? A summary of these four key lessons are:

  1. Earn money – Instead of just handing kids money, make them earn the money from doing something. Attach a value to the dollar.
  2. Save money – Instead of spending all you get, teach them to save for a major purchase later. Instill the joy and anticipation of earning what they want. Help your kids delay satisfaction and save for the future.
  3. Be Content – A lack of contentment leads to debt, the inability to save, and becomes a very selfish approach to life. One of the most important things you can teach your children about money is to be content with what they have currently. Otherwise, you never have peace in your situation.
  4. Give – Be charitable and don’t hoard all of your money. Helping others has been the most fulfilling thing in my life, but it’s a continual challenge to overcome our own greed. As we go into this holiday season, turn it into a Season of Giving and a teachable moment for your kids.

I know I have not been perfect in this process with my kids. In the situation above, the more I inquired and thought about it, he was making a well-processed decision, but it will not be cheap. We have now had the opportunity to discuss his need to contribute, which will require him to earn some of the cost. My next steps will be to discuss with him the impact of his decision on the ability to save and to help others.

As we enter this season of giving, let’s make sure to make decisions that allow us to help others and to train our children to understand the power of money. Making good financial decisions can change our lives as well as those that need our assistance. Hopefully, you have made good decisions up to this point and can make a difference in someone’s life directly or through one of our amazing local charities.

Jon Dockery

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