Thursday, May 10, 2007

Contribute or Consume- Living with Older Children

Yesterday I posted about why I do not believe that young children are too expensive to have. I agree that as children grow up they do eat more, and clothes, shoes, etc... are more expensive, BUT! If children are trained and expected to contribute to the household (the family), then their consuming is not near as important as their contributing.

Part of training our children to become responsible adults is that they need to know they are part of something bigger than themselves. God has placed them (and us) in a family to live and serve as a family until He calls us elsewhere, which usually means the children will marry or go into a career.

It is wise for parents to think about the family as a whole when choosing activities for their children, and of course the more children you have the more selective you need to be. When choosing activities it is important to evaluate if this activity will help this child in building character or skill. Will it benefit the family as a whole or stretch everyone so thin that they are exhausted physically and financially? Will it teach this child to have a servant's heart or puff up their pride? Will it really help equip them with life skills?
As children grow their consuming in the home should be greatly outweighed by their contributing. If an older child only eats, sleeps and showers at home, and then requires transportation, fees, tuitions, uniforms, dues, shoes, entertainment, etc... not even to mention the emotional drain, then yes, children are seen as a burden. But is this realistic to allow children only to be self centered and take without giving?

The first place we (not only children, but parents too) learn to serve and give is at home. A common way to teach this is with household chores, everyone does their part, according to their capability. As children grow in wisdom and stature their responsibility level must grow, as does their privileges.

From the time children are small they need to be taught that they are part of something bigger than themselves, that the world does not revolve around them and they do NOT deserve to have it their way. That actually they are part of God's plan to advance His kingdom and that is done by service. It is done by dying to ourselves and living for Christ. When they grow up they will marry and have to give of themselves for the rest of their lives, especially if they have children. :o) Jesus came here to serve, and that is our duty also. Indulging children in a dozen activities each year may not be in the best interest of the child. Nor should children be idle, boredom should not be an issue! :o)

The older children get, more should be expected of them. They should be able to manage the home inside and out. They should be able to help in the church and community.They should be doing work that they can be paid for (especially boys), it can be yard work, bike repair, gardening, etc... Girls can be creative in making items to sell, gardening/canning, babysitting, tutoring, etc... There are countless other opportunities, they just have to find their nitch and be busy.

When they begin to generate income it is a perfect opportunity to learn money management and the real value of a dollar bill, they soon learn that it does not grow on trees. As their income grows little by little, so should their savings accounts and giving amounts, and so should their contributing to the household. They should start to shop and buy their own clothes, this is called personal responsibility. Our children (especially the girls) are wonderful about planning a meal, shopping for it and then cooking it. What a blessing to our family! Once the boys begin to 'bring home some bacon' they should help towards household expenses. This is called personal responsibility. This is training for the REAL world!

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1 Timothy 5:8

This is when we begin to really enjoy the fruit of our labor, when we see our children grow and contribute, to love and serve their family, church and community. To me it would seem that the more children you have the better off a family would be...that is unless you have a house full of grown, irresponsible consumers that are refusing to contribute.

1 comment:

Niki said...

Usually a lurker. Come by and check out my blog and join my first contest ever! lol. I have very few entries, at this point.