Good Stewardship vs. Materialism

There are things that are more difficult to teach our children than others.  I’ve found that this one has been particularly difficult for us to teach.  We want our children to be good stewards of the things that we’ve been blessed with, but we don’t want them to be so consumed with “stuff” that they become materialistic.

In our experience boys tend to naturally be careless with theirs and others possessions.  It is a common occurrence here to find just about anything lying somewhere that it doesn’t belong.  Toys in the yard, socks and shoes left at the creek, crafts left scattered around the house, etc.  I desperately want them to understand that toys will be destroyed lying outside, socks and shoes will be gross if left at the creek and crafts will be lost left lying around the house.  In their eyes the item leftlaying around doesn’t have enough value  for them to take the appropriate time to put it where it goes.

Our only solution to this, besides trying to be good models ourselves, is to let the boys buy some of these things themselves with their own money.  Note this money doesn’t come easlily they don’t get an allowance.  They are expected to do normal household chores without payment, they only earn money for doing things over and above their chores otherwise it usually comes from birthdays or other holidays.  The biggest problem that we’ve noticed with this is it tends to make them become very money hungry.  They want to do things to make money to buy things that they don’t even need, just to be spending money.  They become very consumed with making money and spending it quickly without much thought.  We’ve tried to make them save up their money with a goal of what they want to buy.  The downside to that is it makes them become very engrossed in “stuff” and that’s not really the point.   That’s certainly not a habit that we want to encourage.  We don’t want them to start thinking that “things” can determine their happiness.

So tell me, do you have suggestions on this one?  What do you do to encourage your children to be good stewards of their things?

2 thoughts on “Good Stewardship vs. Materialism

  1. Years ago I saw a documentary on the Dilley sextuplets. Their family had currency called “Dilley Dollars” and it was used in conjunction with their Discipline Ladder. I think this was born from the necessity of directing 6 kids, but ultimately was made a success in their home because the children really got into it. I also like that they aren’t allowed to even spend their “dollars” unless they are at a certain level on the discipline ladder and the dollars can be turned in for $.50 in their piggy banks or 20 minutes of games. Take a peek at this!
    http://www.quintland.com/dilley/ladder.html

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