A big part of becoming an adult is learning how to deal with life’s three great temptations – money, sex, and power. As teenagers, we can’t begin to deal with them. It’s like learning to navigate a reef-filled lagoon in the dark. Do it on your own and you will inevitably gash the hull of your ship and sink.
Parents, not understanding how treacherous these temptations are say, “Well, the only way they are going to learn is thru experience.” It’s appalling to me how quickly we parents abdicate our roles in training our children how to navigate around the reefs and out into open water. Let’s look at each of these three temptations:
Money is the first temptation we usually have to deal with. The problem is, even with the current crash on Wall St., there is still so much of it in America. We are the top 1% of wealthy human beings. We throw away the food we don’t eat. We buy clothes based on style and spend hours every week shopping.
We buy our kids cars and generally teach them through our example that stewardship of money is a low priority. The result is that kids grow up spoiled, expecting life to be easy. As a consequence, they struggle to hold jobs and become poor employees. Many get into debt to finance their lifestyles and they become victims throwing pity parties when it all falls apart.
If young people are to successfully navigate this reef, they have to be allowed to struggle. They need to feel the pain of deprivation. They need to make choices based on the scarcity of resources.
Parents should have the attitude of Bill Cosby playing Cliff Huxtable. One day his daughter, Vanessa, looking at all the fine things in their home declared to her father, “Dad, we’re rich!”
He responded very coolly, “No Vanessa. I’m rich, you’re poor.”
The point Cosby makes is not to promote familial class warfare, but to teach young people the value of things by allowing them to work for the things they want. It’s a point many Baby Boomers missed in raising their children.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world.” -1 John 2:15
“Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” -1 Timothy 6:10