A friend wrote to me recently and stated, “We are trying to keep our sanity while working at home, having our children home from school and feeling isolated.” Well said, because the whole world seems to be on a pause. It is not a season to fear, but we can embrace this season and believe for some good to come out of it. So, here are 10 things you can do while feeling a bit like a captive.
I love Psalm 91; it is so full of good news. With all of the change the whole world is facing today, God’s word and His promises do not change and it is good to remind ourselves of this fact. If you haven’t read this Psalm recently, please do and consider reading it daily as recommended in point number one below. Its truth is so encouraging in this hour.
“In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.” *
There is no better time than now, today, to start teaching your children about money, saving, spending, credit, debt and giving. As we approach Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, you’ll have a perfect opportunity.
Take the financial lessons you have learned and use them as a teaching tool to those little ones in your life, either as a parent, a grandparent or a caretaker. Their future spouses, teachers and employers will love you for it. Author and financial teacher Larry Burkett once said that we are not responsible for our children’s decisions, but we are responsible for their training.
- It all begins and hinges on helping them to understand that God owns it all. We are to be the best stewards of everything He shares with us and because God is so generous, teach generosity. There is no greater blessing than to give.
- Teach the difference between self-discipline, delayed gratification, and immediate self-gratification.
- Give your children regular and meaningful responsibilities – jobs without pay, e.g., picking up their toys. Do not give an unearned, free ride allowance, but rather, give your children regular jobs with generous pay, e.g., mowing the lawn or folding the laundry.
- Teach your children to tithe from every dollar earned or given to them. It is all God’s, but discipline in regular giving grows a habit.
- Teach your children to save a percentage of their income for the future (30-50%), all the while designating a percentage of what can be spent immediately.
- Teach the difference between an asset and a liability – a consumable. Help them to understand the concept of investing and how that will help them beyond today into the future.
- Develop a budget with your child as soon as they can comprehend the idea. It will serve them the remainder of their life. Start a savings account (start with a piggy bank) and when age appropriate, obtain a money market account and an ATM card. Teach them how to responsibly use and balance them.
- Train them in the proper use of credit and how the borrower is servant to the lender. Borrowing for an asset vs. a liability. Share with them the difference between paying interest and growing interest on their money/investment.
- Share with your children your financial mistakes and how they can learn and benefit from them.
- As is appropriate, walk them through all other financial concepts like loans, taxes, utilities, owning a home, maintenance, buying a car, auto repairs, insurance, etc. Take the time to teach your children what God takes the time to teach you about money and His resources. They’re never too young to learn.
And here’s a bonus for you as a parent. Stop saying the words, “I can’t afford it.” Most times we can, we’re normally adjusting our priorities. So rather than this short answer, try explaining why making a certain purchase is not within your budget at this time.
How many words are there in the English language? I asked Google just that question one day. The answer? Three key numbers to remember. There are over one million English words of which approximately 170,000 are presently used. Any one of us as English speakers use around 20,000-30,000 words.
To be “fluent” in English you need to know around 10,000 words. The longest word in English is 45 letters in length, a medical diagnosis term. Approximately 5,400 new words are created annually. One introduced for 2018 was, wordie.” (Even now my spell check is telling me it’s an incorrect spelling.) And there are 3,000 common English words that you could get by with in order to communicate sufficiently. As well, thousands of words become obsolete each year. Here’s an obsolete word for example: “boreism.”
There are some words in each and every language that should never become obsolete; words that ought to be repeated over and over. There are in marriage words that we ought never stop repeating or ever tire of hearing. I can think of three of the most beautiful words spoken or heard, “I love you.”
Telling our spouse each and every day that we love them can never become old. Telling our children every morning and every night must be habitual. Saying those words to our parents is important because they are also words of honor. Telling God how much we love Him should reveal endless adoration of Him because He first loved us.
I am not sure anyone on this earth tires of hearing those words, “I love you.” There may be many around you today who do not hear those words or perhaps never heard them growing up. We can make a difference today in their lives too.
It’s time to reclaim dinner around our tables. This practice is becoming lost in the midst of family busyness, jobs, school schedules, friends and activates. We desperately need to recover this tradition within our families and here’s why.
When we’re sitting around the table eating, it’s a time to connect as a family. It’s a time to talk about our day. It’s a time to encourage, speak life-filled words, laugh and listen. Dads and moms can help provoke this time of communication and connectedness. Here’s how.
There is nothing worse than everyone sitting around complaining about the meal, their day, not talking or simply engaged in words like, “Pass the salt” or “Can you please close your mouth when you chew?” This opportunity for connection can begin with Dad sharing about his work day, Mom sharing about an important meeting she was engaged in and then the children following up with something that occurred in school, a paper due or a prayer need. If no one is talking, you can begin a wonderful conversation just by asking, “So, what’s the craziest thing that happened today?” or “Finish this sentence: Today was a challenge because…”
The food takes a backseat to the conversation. Before closing your mealtime, the conversation can turn to praying together as a family or asking if someone needs help with a certain task assigned after dinner. Mealtime is a time for togetherness and relationship building. Always include your children’s friends in the conversation and you just might start a new tradition in their home as well.
Do not lose the value of such an important daily connection and opportunity. Proverbs reminds us, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”
I recently read a Reader’s Digest article called, The Nature Cure and was totally intrigued. I will share some of the information from that article below. It seemed to verify what I have believed and incorporated into my life, certainly appreciating that this periodical would help to validate this belief.
The article actually called nature a “miracle medicine for our mental health.” It seems social scientists are discovering that our brains are not machines which do not tire, but rather become easily fatigued and with as little as three days of rest, creative problem-solving tasks can increase by 50 percent!
When architect Fredrick Olmsted looked over Yosemite Valley, he urged the California legislature to, “…protect it from development…. that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes is favorable to the health and vigor of men.”
Thousands of years ago gardens were constructed for this very reason — rest and mental relaxation. It seems most kings mentioned in the Scriptures incorporated them. The U.S. national park system was created because people like Ralph Waldo Emerson built a case for creating the park system stating that nature had healing powers.
Researchers today are discovering that people who live in or near “green spaces” suffer less depression, anxiety and migraines. A study in Japan found those persons who walk in the forest decrease the stress hormone cortisol. There is healing in God’s gift of nature and yet less than a quarter of Americans spend 30 minutes or more outside in nature daily.
Did you know pediatricians are now telling parents with young families to regularly visit parks so the whole family can de-stress and play? When is the last time you went camping, hiking in the mountains, visited gardens, introduced your child to the wonders of a stick, sat around a campfire, watched a sunset, played in a creek, observed butterflies or sat by a lake?
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. (Genesis 2:8
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. (Matthew 13:1)