Early in our process of going through FPU, we sat down and did an actual budget for the first time. We realized just how far behind we were with our finances. Actually, to the tune of thirteen hundred a month. It was then that we made some serious decisions: get gazelle intense and take on second jobs, stop spending money like the government, live well below our means, sell some stuff…or lots of stuff, and educate our children. In fact, we sat them down and said, “You’re parents have been stupid with money, and now you’re going to pay for it!”
We decided that it was time to take some responsibility for our ridiculous actions. We took the scripture “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it” seriously. We told the girls, who were thirteen and fifteen, that up to that point, we had given them whatever they wanted. But going forward things were going to change. If they wanted something from now on, they were going to have to work for it. Yep, that’s right, we started child labor that day. We told them that we would take care of the things they needed like food, shelter, clothing…anything else they would have to work for. “If you want to go to the movies, don’t even ask us for the money. If you don’t have it, you don’t go. You want more clothes, it’s on you. You work, you get stuff. You don’t work, you get what we are willing to pay for.”
This didn’t go over well, but over time they began to see why it had to be that way. They also got to see their parents taking responsibility and repenting of the stupid stuff they had done. As we got our financial life in order, and made better decisions with our money, they learned and compared it to what life was like when we basically just used debt. The stress was being removed right in front of their eyes. As they sat through FPU, week after week, they watched single moms go from the edge of disaster to providing confidently for their children. They saw strained marriages be healed. And they learned that money is an important part of life, and the best way to get some is to actually work for it.
Years later, they have had no debt, own their own cars, and one is saving to buy a house someday. A HOUSE! That’s pretty stinkin’ cool. All because we made a decision that we were not going to let them grow up and be losers. Yes, losers! People in debt, by definition, are losing, therefore they are losers. (See how I justified that. :-)) Imagine where they would be if we didn’t change our ways. Either way they follow in our footsteps to a certain extent, right? Which way do we want them to follow? If you’re a parent, what do you think? If you’re the child, which path will you take?