Say What?!?!?! : A Parent's Goal Is Not to Raise Good Kids

courtesy of Dave Ramsey

We know our goal is not to keep our kids happy, turn them into little soldiers, or fulfill our unmet dreams. But if the goal is not to raise good kids, then what on earthis it?

Andy Andrews puts it this way: “The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

It’s a subtle but powerful distinction. Kids can behave well out of obedience or fear, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do what’s best when they venture out on their own.Raising kids who become great adults requires instilling character traits that will inform future decisions and actions.

One of the best ways you can make sure your kids are ready to face adulthood one day is to teach them how to handle money now. That’s because money isn’t justabout money.

In Dave and Rachel’s new class, Smart Money Smart Kids, we learn that teaching kids to handle money really teaches them so much more.

When you teach a kid to work, you teach her responsibility.

That’s because work—whether it is chores around the house or a job at the mall—involves follow-through, best efforts and accountability. Work shows your daughter that she alone is in control of her actions, and that she will reap the consequences or rewards of her labor. Great adults are responsible.

When you teach a kid to spend, you teach him to use wisdom.

Spending money is fun. Kids totally get this. When you get involved, he learns that, yes, spending money is fun, but it’s also something that should be done with care. Smart spending requires good judgment—a vital life skill. Great adults use wisdom.

When you teach a kid to save, you teach her patience.

Our kids are growing up in a world of instant gratification. Saving money makes kids slow way down. This might hurt a little, but that’s okay. Saving money will show your daughter that she can’t necessarily have everything she wants right when she wants it. Great adults practice patience.

When you teach a kid to give, you teach him generosity.

Generosity is defined as the willingness to give, but that doesn’t come natural to many kids. As a parent, encourage the act of giving and watch your son’s heart change over time as he takes action.Generosity is a necessary weapon to fight against selfishness and greed. Great adults are generous.

When you teach a kid to avoid debt, you teach her honesty.

Debt allows people to live a lie. With debt, you can buy a bigger house, drive a nicer car, and eat fancier dinners. If your daughter wants to avoid debt for life, she’ll have to be honest with herself and everyone around her about what she can actually afford and, more importantly, who she really is. Great adults are honest.

When you teach a kid to be content, you teach him gratitude.

Contentment comes from the recognition that God owns it all. He created everything we have and all that we are. He cares about it all too. When kids grasp this concept, they can be okay with who God made them to be and what God’s given them to manage. Everything else is just a bonus. If your son learns to be content, he will be constantly grateful. Great adults practice gratitude.

Imagine your life twenty years from now. Your kids are grown and gone. What do you hope for their futures? Keep those dreams in mind as you start working on tomorrow today.