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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How We Treat Money and Kids the Same....

We have all heard stories about the down-and-out individual who has never caught a break in their life but wins the lottery out of the blue.  Then 12 months later the same person is broke and in a worse condition than if they had never won the cash. That same scenario plays out with inheritances or trust fund recipients who ultimately come of age.

Switching gears, we’ve also heard horrific stories of child abuse where a toddler soils their diaper and is put outside on a porch in the dead of winter to “learn a lesson” – but ultimately dies from exposure. Or the numerous reports of a crying child who gets fatally shaken in a misguided attempt by some adult to stop the cries.

The reason for these examples is that children and money have a similar attribute.

I believe that both are external amplifiers of our internal character. Let me explain.

While there might be exceptions, the vast majority of kind, loving and considerate people tend to make great parents who produce great children who echo the traits of those parents. Also, even when loving and considerate individuals have very little disposable income they tend to be very generous in their personal giving and donations.

And that generosity is magnified when they happen to come into new found wealth.

As suggested at the beginning of this article, the same holds true in the negative regarding children and money. If someone is a broken person, when they become a parent they will almost certainly break their children into a shattering mess that can last several lifetimes as the cycle of abuse gets passed on generationally.

And if someone can’t responsibly manage a few dollars they get doing a part-time job, they won’t be able to handle real wealth when it comes their way. Specifically if that person blows every dollar they get feeding an addiction when they have very little, that won’t change behaviors in a cash flow windfall. The addiction will consume everything.

This insight should come as no surprise to any of us since it’s ancient wisdom that dates back nearly two thousand years as is writtne in Luke chapter 16, verse 10:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

The use of the word trust in that passage speaks directly to internal character. And for good or bad, both money and children amplify that internal trait. It’s equally important not to confuse the two – money and children. Too many people would rather hug their money and spend their kids.

Question: Do you think there's a common link between how we treat money and kids?

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