The Adventist Home


Chapter 63—Instructing Children How to Earn and Use Money

Teach Simple Habits in Daily Life—Parents are to bring up and educate and train their children in habits of self-control and self-denial. They are ever to keep before them their obligation to obey the word of God and to live for the purpose of serving Jesus. They are to educate their children that there is need of living in accordance with simple habits in their daily life, and to avoid expensive dress, expensive diet, expensive houses, and expensive furniture.1 AH 386.1

When very young, children should be educated to read, to write, to understand figures, to keep their own accounts. They may go forward, advancing step by step in this knowledge. But before everything else, they should be taught that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.2 AH 386.2

Youth to Be Considerate of Family Finance—Through erroneous ideas regarding the use of money the youth are exposed to many dangers. They are not to be carried along and supplied with money as if there were an inexhaustible supply from which they could draw to gratify every supposed need. Money is to be regarded as a gift entrusted to us of God to do His work, to build up His kingdom, and the youth should learn to restrict their desires.3 AH 386.3

Do not make your wants many, especially if the income for home expenses is limited. Bring your wants within your parents’ means. The Lord will recognize and commend your unselfish efforts.... Be faithful in that which is least. You will then be in no danger of neglecting greater responsibilities. God's word declares, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.”4 AH 386.4

Give Lessons in Money Values—Money which comes to the young with but little effort on their part will not be valued. Some have to obtain money by hard work and privation, but how much safer are those youth who know just where their spending money comes from, who know what their clothing and food costs, and what it takes to purchase a home! AH 387.1

There are many ways in which children can earn money themselves and can act their part in bringing thank offerings to Jesus, who gave His own life for them.... They should be taught that the money which they earn is not theirs to spend as their inexperienced minds may choose, but to use judiciously and to give to missionary purposes. They should not be satisfied to take money from their father or mother and put it into the treasury as an offering, when it is not theirs. They should say to themselves, “Shall I give of that which costs me nothing?”5 AH 387.2

There is such a thing as giving unwise help to our children. Those who work their way through college appreciate their advantages more than those who are provided with them at someone else's expense, for they know their cost. We must not carry our children until they become helpless burdens.6 AH 387.3

Parents mistake their duty when they freely hand out money to any youth who has physical strength to enter on a course of study to become a minister or a physician before he has had an experience in useful, taxing labor.7 AH 387.4

Encourage Children to Earn Their Own Money—Many a child who lives out of the city can have a little plot of land where he can learn to garden. He can be taught to make this a means of securing money to give to the cause of God. Both boys and girls can engage in this work; and it will, if they are rightly instructed, teach them the value of money and how to economize. It is possible for the children, besides raising money for missionary purposes, to be able to help in buying their own clothes, and they should be encouraged to do this.8 AH 388.1

Discourage the Reckless Use of Money—Oh, how much money we waste on useless articles in the house, on ruffles and fancy dress, and on candies and other articles we do not need! Parents, teach your children that it is wrong to use God's money in self-gratification.... Encourage them to save their pennies wherever possible, to be used in missionary work. They will gain rich experiences through the practice of self-denial, and such lessons will often keep them from acquiring habits of intemperance.9 AH 388.2

The children may learn to show their love for Christ by denying themselves needless trifles, for the purchase of which much money slips through their fingers. In every family this work should be done. It requires tact and method, but it will be the best education the children can receive. And if all the little children would present their offerings to the Lord, their gifts would be as little rivulets which, when united and set flowing, would swell into a river.10 AH 388.3

Keep a little money box on the mantel or in some safe place where it can be seen, in which the children can place their offerings for the Lord.... Thus they may be trained for God.11 AH 388.4

Teach Children to Pay Tithe and Offerings—Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as His own, but He tells us how it should be reserved for Him. He says, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” This does not teach that we are to spend our means on ourselves and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God's portion be first set apart. The directions given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul in regard to gifts present a principle that applies also to tithing. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” Parents and children are here included.12 AH 389.1

A Mistake Sometimes Made by Wealthy Fathers—The circumstances in which a child is placed will often have a more effective influence on him than even the example of parents. There are wealthy men who expect their children to be what they were in their youth, and blame the depravity of the age if they are not. But they have no right to expect this of their children unless they place them in circumstances similar to those in which they themselves have lived. The circumstances of the father's life have made him what he is. In his youth he was pressed with poverty and had to work with diligence and perseverance. His character was molded in the stern school of poverty. He was forced to be modest in his wants, active in his work, simple in his tastes. He had to put his faculties to work in order to obtain food and clothing. He had to practice economy. AH 389.2

Fathers labor to place their children in a position of wealth, rather than where they themselves began. This is a common mistake. Had children today to learn in the same school in which their fathers learned, they would become as useful as they. The fathers have altered the circumstances of their children. Poverty was the father's master; abundance of means surrounds the son. All his wants are supplied. His father's character was molded under the severe discipline of frugality; every trifling good was appreciated. His son's habits and character will be formed, not by the circumstances which once existed, but by the present situation—ease and indulgence.... When luxury abounds on every side, how can it be denied him?13 AH 389.3

Parents’ Best Legacy to Children—The very best legacy which parents can leave their children is a knowledge of useful labor and the example of a life characterized by disinterested benevolence. By such a life they show the true value of money, that it is only to be appreciated for the good that it will accomplish in relieving their own wants and the necessities of others, and in advancing the cause of God.14 AH 390.1