This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
Once when I was much younger, I was out doing something in the yard. I could hear our next door neighbors, a young couple, having a violent argument. Since the windows were closed, I couldn’t make out the individual words but I could make out the wife shouting in hundred word outbursts which were periodically answered by a few angry grunts from her husband. I saw their little girl, age five or six, standing in their backyard. She looked very solemn, very unhappy. She told me, “Mommy and Daddy are being mean to each other.” Then after a pause she added, “It’s about the bills.”
I tried to comfort her to the best of my ability, explaining in simple terms that sometimes paying the bills was a very difficult problem that could upset mommies and daddies. I would guess that little girl is now in her early thirties. I know she is a single mom, trying to care for a little girl of her own. She may not remember that incident, but it is there. It is a part of her relationship with money. I hope she has had better experiences with money. I hope she finds her way to financial freedom.
If you have children or if you are a child, consider the effects that the actions of parents have on their children. Consider what you are modeling for your children. They are watching you. Are you teaching them the basics of good money management by word and deed? Are they learning what it means to live on a budget? Are you teaching them that debt is a curse and that the ability to lend is a blessing? Are you teaching them it is more blessed to give than to receive?
You can change the stories you believe about money. Your life can be the beginning of a tale of multi-generational wealth. It is easier if you already have money, but even if you don’t have any money you can start. My grandfather was a poor dust bowl farmer during the Great Depression. He was so poor he literally had trouble keeping shoes on his children’s feet. Because his wife was terrified of debt, they managed to hold on to their farm through the depression. They were one of only two families in that part of their county to accomplish that feat. Even when this man was poor, he was planning for his children’s future. Before he died he bought farms for each of his four children.
Even in the midst a pretty desperate situation, his mind was in the future finding a way to be a blessing to his progeny. Work hard, spend less than you earn, give your money, your time, and your emotional energy to God and to your neighbors. You may not reap the harvest in your lifetime, but if you transmit a healthy relationship with money to your children, perhaps the day will come when your grandchild graduates, debt free, from medical school. Then you and your child can take pleasure in the accomplishments of a grandchild who will live on to carry the blessings that you sowed so many years ago into an unimaginable future.
You can do it. Really. You can change your family and your world.