I’m pleased that several school districts around the nation have added financial literacy classes to their school curriculum. Teachers are being trained to teach students personal finance concepts in areas such as budgeting, credit card use, saving, and retirement strategies.
While it’s crucial that young people learn this information at an early age, it’s just as important that they understand the dangers of consumption. It’s been estimated that teen consumption, (products bought by and for teens), is somewhere between 170 to 200 billion dollars per year! Teens desire the latest trends by the hottest designers, and parents often indulge them. I find this dangerous and irresponsible.
Teens mimic our behavior. They see that many of us are convinced that our social status is achieved by spending money on things we cannot afford. They see us spend substantially more for the famous or popular logo or brand because that image represents a certain status and level of success. But they don’t see that spending is the defining and confining behavior of financial slaves.
Some years ago, someone coined the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” Many of us aren’t even trying to keep up with the Joneses. We’re trying to keep up with ourselves. We believe that the more we have, the better we are, and that becomes a substitute for developing our own character. Sadly, we pass this warped view down to our children.
Read and discuss Proverbs 14:12 with your children. Teach them that money cannot buy those things that we really need, and that nothing can replace the power of human relationships and our relationship with God.
DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.