Intended for Father’s Day weekend, these thoughts are a bit behind schedule!
This past Spring, Emily & I co-led and participated in our first ever Financial Peace University…which was CRAZY helpful in getting our minds wrapped around goals for our marriage and family. The line we heard repeated more than anything else was this:
Live like no one else now so that you can live like no one else later!
Translation: be willing to make sacrifices early on for a later pay off. Choose homemade cards, board games and Family Dollar instead of bling, cruises and Neiman Mark-up. The savings and investments made early move a person into the realm of enjoying things without debt later. And for the believer, moves him/her into the reality of eventually being able to bless specific ministries in extraordinary ways.
A fun way to teach this to our kids is sharing FPU’s investment calculator. (Click HERE to preview and play around with it). I wish I had a picture of my oldest child’s face with this scenario: $2000 invested at age 18, with NO more money paid in, at a 10% average rate of return by age 68 = $243,781! But take the exact same scenario and have $100 per month drafted from your checking account. In the same time span, the yield is $1.7 million!
It goes to show that a little, invested early, and continued over time reaps a great harvest. This is a great principle for parents! And I hope, an encouragement as well. Many parents I know are working very long hours to provide for their families in this difficult economy. Many more are trying the accomplish the task which ought to be shared by a spouse all by herself. As discouragement takes hold, it is easy to feel like one has skipped today’s or this month’s payment, or maybe even has made some big withdrawals.
But be encouraged, and know that every small kindness with the intent to nurture and reflect the Father’s love adds value that is compounding. Even if gone unappreciated in the moment, every
- note in a lunch box
- book read at bedtime
- backyard ball game played
- recital attended
- music lesson, practice, rehearsal driven to (in your minivan with 248,000 miles)
- prayer prayed over him, his folded clothes, made up bed
- homework sheet assisted
- “funeral” for yet another pet that kicked it
- wrestling match in the floor when you “let” him win
- surprise “just because” little gift
- lovingly confrontive conversation rather than letting it go unspoken
- time spent doing something she loves (but you might hate)
- “I love you” spoken
- time you spent answering the questions you never saw coming, but by the grace of God were able to answer truthfully and without freaking out…
all these things compound the interest. These and more add to the vocation of biblical parenting: to nurture our children towards being a gift for God’s world. It’s biblical because it images the Heavenly Father upon them. It’s obedience because you recognize your child as a divinely entrusted gift. It’s spiritual formation for the parent because as a father or mother, you make the investment not only for your joy but especially for others to savor.
This becomes the heart-cry of the believing parent: that the LORD may shape my son/daughter and use this life so that others may know and be in eternity with Him.
Hang in there moms and dads. Even if today’s deposit is only a dime, it may be greater progress than you realize. In God’s hands, He can turn the investment made in your child into an endowment instead of a Social Security check.
And for the record, this is why I’m late this week:
Your family is your small group.