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The Money Talk

There’s been a lot of talk about money in our house lately.  What is it? Where does it come from? Who makes it? How does a person get it? As you can tell by the line of questioning, the interest is coming from the two youngest members of Camp Jarl, more than likely precipitated by the generous in-flow of birthday cards they have been receiving in recent days from faraway family and friends. Whenever they have received monetary gifts in the past, they have handed off the money to me and cared little about it.  Gift cards they understood, cash was another story.  I’m not even sure they realized they could spend it. And now for my first mom-fession on the blog: I must mom-fess to having spent a lot some of that cash over the last several years. That’s right: I have spent some of my children’s birthday money on things that were not birthday presents. Not that I ever intended to selfishly deduct from my boys’ registers but as someone who never carries cash, every once in a while that birthday money got me out of a cash-only manicure/pedicure tip jam. And, let’s face it, they already have too many toys as it is! Surely they could spare a few dollars for a cappuccino for mommy? No? Well I’m really holding out hope that I can’t be the only parent on Earth guilty of this. But, even if I am, at least I have officially owned it on the internets.

Anyway, this summer we have been seeing quite a bit of our neighborhood cash-only ice cream man in Connecticut, who does parents the pleasure of making his rounds every. single. day.  The boys have watched me scramble to add up whatever quarters I can find that miraculously equate to the cost of one watermelon bomb pop or two-ball screwball (yes, that’s the actual name of Tino’s preferred choice). Needless to say, the boys have developed a new appreciation for cash when otherwise they would only tie money to plastic cards.

With all of this money finding its way into their little pockets, it got me to thinking about ways I could meaningfully connect their gifts to reality. At nearly 4 and 6 years old, they are certainly old enough to have an introductory discussion about the role that money plays in the world.  After all, if they are old enough to contextually ask me for money — they’re old enough to understand what it takes to earn it. We have had chats before about why mommies, daddies, and grownups in general, work in order to be able to provide for their families.  They understand that if grownups don’t work, they aren’t able to buy things like food for the table or gas for their cars. Both boys have always enjoyed playing with their toy cash registers set up to mimic our experiences at Pottery Barn the grocery store or other places of business.  Alejandro and Antonio have also taken turns asking Doug, who works in the financial services industry, if he “sits at his desk counting monies all day,” (not exactly). But the link between themselves and money has always remained mostly intangible.

No longer, my friends, no longer.

With a little reflection, I remembered seeing an idea on one of my social media feeds that divided a child’s money into three separate containers; one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving.  The idea is that the child is allowed to decide how much money is put into each jar and, in being the decision maker, learns how personal choices can dramatically impact someone’s finances. “If Tino spends all $5 on Ice Cream Man Monday he won’t have any money left for Ice Cream Man Tuesday.” So simple but so powerful. I loved it. I knew that my boys just being able to physically see the money divided in front of them would be tremendously impactful.  Couple that with giving them the opportunity to let them be in control and make a choice of their own and you have a homerun. So, we set out yesterday morning with a mission to find our materials and put it all together after nap that afternoon.


We picked up a pair of these crates and jars at our local craft stores.  I was giddy to swipe all of them at upwards of 70% off — the jars were only a $1 each! I loved how they already came prepped with the chalkboard paint, as I was prepared to have to add that myself in a separate step. I also loved the convenient attached lids that make it especially difficult for them to go missing as most things not nailed down do in a house shared with little people.  At first I wasn’t thrilled with the selection of crates, baskets, and containers — and I didn’t have it in me to take on another painting craft twice in one week — but the industrial edges on this won me over.  I had the idea to turn the crate on its side and sit the jars upright on the base.  The fact that I found the crates before the jars and didn’t know if I would be able to find any that fit properly made the choice a little risky but, what can I say, I live on the edge.

As you can see, the jars were a perfect fit. I grabbed one of my chalk paint markers I had at home and we went to work.  As you see in our ‘finished’ picture, we labeled each jar; Spend, Save, and Tithe. For anyone not familiar, ‘tithe’ is a term commonly used to refer to donations made to one’s respected church or religious community.  Having found their little behinds in a pew at our beloved parish every week of their young lives, the boys are very familiar with the ritual of tithing and putting money or envelopes in the baskets during collection. But even the Catholic Church has gone digital — Doug and I tithe in one lump sum via an electronic debit system our church is enrolled in. I defend my belief that cash really is the dinosaur of currency.

After a lengthy discussion about what each jar stood for, we laid out all of the money each boy had collected. I gave pre-school examples of what each Abraham Lincoln could buy them. I could see the wheels in their little minds turning as they began to prioritize their Gatorade, bubble gum (sugar-free, Auntie Kristin the Dentist, don’t worry!), and church contributions. It was a real treat for me as a mom to listen to them rationalize their choices.  I was shocked when both of them chose to put the most money in their Tithe jars, followed closely by the Save jar, and lastly by Spend.  Just to keep things right in the universe, Tino did end up putting more money in his Spend jar than Alejandro.

I have to say, for any parent who is considering whether or not this is a conversation they would like to have with their budding pre-schooler or Kindergartener, I would highly encourage it. I was amazed to see how engaged the boys were in our conversation about the in’s and out’s of finances, and how eager they were to decide where they wanted to allocate whatever they had.  I hesitate to say I was surprised at their generosity when it came to giving, but I was. Alejandro even understood that 4 Abraham Lincolns would satisfy a “whole month of Sundays.” As a parent to young children it is so easy to get lost in the sibling bickering and fatigue-induced whining and lose sight of all of the good you are accomplishing in helping to shape their little minds and encourage their little hearts. An exercise in financial education for them turned into a bit of validation for me and, as a mommy, that is a trade-off I am always happy to accept.

xoxo 

Ashley 

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    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

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    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the website listed below with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus came to pay a debt that we could not; to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. For sin is the transgression of the law. We must walk in the Spirit so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our own desires that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness through faith (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow the rituals and traditions of man but to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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