Man year got off to a good start in April!
Here are some of the highlights:
Josh's first task this year is to learn about stewardship. He is learning that all that he has been given comes from the Lord, and his job is to be a good steward of the things he has. Josh primarily focused on financial stewardship and giving, but also knows that his gifts and abilities come from the Lord, too. He is growing in gratitude knowing these things, and is learning to think before spending impulsively.
During the month, Josh read the book of Luke. He kept journal entries when he came across passages that pertained to stewardship, provision, giving, greed, etc. He learned about what Jesus thought and taught about money, so that he has a solid foundation to build on.
Also, he is currently taking a class called Money Matters for Teens, which is being taught by our friend, Steve. Steve is a Financial Adviser, and has been doing a great job teaching Josh and some of his classmates about handling their finances. He has learned about saving, spending, debt, setting up and managing accounts, interest, writing faux checks, how to keep a ledger, budgeting, investing, and giving, to name a few topics.
During this past week he went on a "daddy date" and set up a mock budget for what his future earnings and expenditures may look like. He learned the difference between needs and wants, and he learned the cold hard truths about how expensive bills can be, and that it's important to live within his means.
Besides Josh's normal tithing and giving to others in need, we wanted him to have the opportunity to serve and give to his brother as well... out of his own spending money. At first he was a little hesitant about this. Then he took Jason out to yogurt, and said he was willing to allow him to buy up to $10 in yogurt and toppings!! How generous is that? It was fun to see him paying for everything himself, and blessing his brother at the same time.
One day, Josh painted a "money tree." We discussed 1 Timothy 6:10
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."
Money in and of itself is not good or evil, but loving it can cause all sorts of misery. He brainstormed the many sins that can be rooted in the love of money and pasted them on his tree. A very good discussion came out of this one.
Although we had already established an envelope system for Josh's chore allowance (giving, saving, spending), the final feat of the month was learning about long term savings and opening up his own account at the credit union. He decided to deposit $150 into long term savings. When asked if he was saving for something, he replied, "Oh, the usual, like a car in my future." I was beside myself with joy as I watched him make decisions, fill out official paperwork, endorse a check, and converse with the credit union account adviser. He later told me he felt like God had been preparing him the week before to be confident and to look right into the person's eyes while he conducted business. God did prepare him, and he did a GREAT job!!
Finally, Josh wrote a resolve about his stewardship goals for the future.
"I resolve by the will of God to take the skills I have learned in this month of stewardship, and ponder these things in my time of financial need. I will remember what my teachers have said to me, financial, and more. I will pray to God for understanding of His word, in prayer, and in life. I will ask him to approve my choice in my future wife, purchases, and choices. I will ask Him to help direct me to Him, especially in times of need, when it would be easy to curse Him. He has given me many possessions, and I will ask Him for guidance in using them for Him. I will accept my role as a steward of all God's creation, and do my very best to use that role, not abuse it. Thereby, I accept the role he has bestowed upon me, for I hereby resolve to serve Him with what he has given me, in fine weather, or bad, sickness, or not, I devote the gift God has given me, back to Him, to serve Him, and bless Him with praise."
I had no idea this was going to come out of him... it made me cry!!
I thank God for my boy and his willingness to learn.