Let’s talk about money. It’s one of the biggest problems in marriages. It’s one of the most important things to teach our kids (well, aside from love and kindness and all that jazz:). And I think my parents did a pretty great job weaving love into teaching kids about money. They were very deliberate about it, and they taught us some great ways to save and also to give, and to spend responsibly.
Does that mean we’re all awesome at it?
But I think they worked hard to teach us that money is a stewardship.
Our Family Bank
It may not look like much.
It is old and battered from job “slips” and “payday” and inches of coins jingling around in it’s belly for so many years in a row.
The key to it’s padlock was lost long ago so the top hinges have had the screws removed so it will open up like a claw to let us get to the money inside.
But I love it because it symbolizes so many things about my Dad.
I picture him cutting the wood to fit just so, then pounding in the nails to make a box. I’m sure he recruited some of us kids to help with that.
I picture him waiting in line at the store to buy the hinges, the padlock, some golden spray-paint…his mind swirling with ideas of what this would mean to his brood of children he wanted so desperately to raise the right way.
As I examine that semi-crooked carved-out writing in his artistic hand I picture him taking time as he carved to methodically think about how he would help us earn money. How he would strive to help keep us carefully protected from entitlement…a watchful steward full of “loving more.”
He would teach us the importance of saving with his 10-20-70 principal over and over and over and over again ’til we knew, there was no choice. Money was a stewardship not to be taken lightly.
When it was done…a bright, golden box…he introduced it to us children and we became fast friends.
He sat behind it on “payday” every Saturday and helped us calculate our earnings…tithing and savings always first. We earned more if we memorized quotes that had serious meaning. Could he know that we would still remember many of those deep in the recesses of our thirties?
That bank, the carved letters, the payday, the bright gold spray-paint now faded from years of use…they were just a tiny portion of his parenting. The golden family bank is just a symbol of how much he cared about us.
That parenting that has stretched ever so strong into the future where he still cares just as much.
Only now, it shows more in his phone calls and his incessant full-of-love emails. His frequent visits where he snatches up our children and carries them into an imaginative wonderland all of their own.
And then he helps them make their own treasure boxes each summer at Bear Lake.
But the magic that his grandchildren may only understand later is that those boxes they are making are not really for holding treasure.
They are the treasure. A symbol of a Grandfather’s love.
Just how that golden box is a symbol of a father’s perfect love.
So grateful for my dad’s example of weaving love into teaching kids about money!