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September 2021

Living Lessons


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Learned by Example

By Joshua Eidson


Children are curious. They want to understand how things work, what makes Mom and Dad aggravated or happy. As parents, we need to remind ourselves our little people are watching us constantly. That constant observation can, and should, provide deeper motivation for us to put our best efforts forward in all we do. We are teaching them, by example, every aspect of life, even our financial lives.

While we should be intentional about teaching them the important things of life, they often learn as much, if not more, from their daily observation. What are we teaching them in the little, unconscious moments of our daily lives? Do they see us being generous to those who work to prepare and serve a meal we did not have to prepare? Do they witness us being patient and understanding with those same workers when things aren’t as we expected with our order? Do they see us treat cash purchases differently than credit? Do they see us frustrated with maintaining our material blessings or working joyfully because we have been blessed with these items?

Often, as parents, we think, “I must capitalize on every learning opportunity with my children.”

Yes! We should be mindful of those opportunities and be intentional about making the most of them. But many financial lessons we teach come—not through overt efforts—but a passing remark, daily financial habits, hushed conversations with our spouse, and emotions expressed while engaging with our finances. Several of these examples may have produced a negative reaction when you read the list. However, these learning times are not all bad, or at least they do not have to be. We must live with the constant awareness that we are our children’s financial role models, for better or worse. That is the most basic way we teach them, and it is a lifelong endeavor.

As children age, we can explain why we handle our money the way we choose. Why we go to work each day. Why we cannot (or do not) buy anything and everything they want. Why we give faithfully to our local church and other ministries.

This process is a great learning experience for parents as well when they see their kids begin to interact with their own money. Often, their behavior mirrors the example of the adults in their lives. We should engage with them at every age level in appropriate ways to help them understand healthy money habits. They are developing money habits, like many other traits, much earlier than we often realize.

Be aware of their constant observation.

Be intentional when teachable moments do come up.

Be willing to learn together as they age.

About the Writer: Joshua Eidson served as accounting administrator for the Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement from 2016 to 2021. He graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in business administration from Welch College and has over 13 years of experience in finance and accounting.


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists