Teaching with increasing depth
As part of their training to be in but not of the world, we want our children to understand Pluto’s corruption of us through money. To achieve this goal, our teaching method will be one of increasing range and depth as our children grow in faith, hope, and love.
To do this, we as parents will include our children in our discussions of money as their maturity allows. We will gradually explain to them who handles the family’s money, whether we have credit cards, how much we owe on the house or car, and why. We will tell our children how much money we make, what we spend it on, how much money each person in the family gets, and why.
Our method will also need to be experiential or based on experience. Children learn easily enough that money is necessary. More difficult to learn is the power of evil associated with it. We need to teach them how Pluto actually corrupts human relationships and personalities. To learn of this power, children need to experience being confronted by it and then reflect critically on that experience.
They will experience this power by actually buying and selling things. We need to let children buy and sell simple things on their own, like postage stamps or milk. We need to let them sell simple things, like lemonade at a stand or something they have made. We also need to instruct them when they experience arguments about money within the family or between friends. Who gets to decide how the money is spent? How much voice do the children get? Why?
We need to discuss with our children class differences when these become visible. Who gets to own big houses in nice neighborhoods, drive luxury cars, eat at fancy restaurants, and wear expensive brand-name clothing to school? Why do some people live in run-down apartments on littered streets, wake up hungry, dress in rags, and walk in fear? Do our children get laughed at because of the clothes they wear? Do they conform to avoid ridicule? Do they tease others about their clothing? We also need to discuss the power of money made visible when labor strikes occur, robberies take place, or radical changes are made to our monetary system. Who benefits?
(Today’s reflections were guided by Jacques Ellul’s book, Money and Power (trans. LaVonne Neff, Inter-Varsity Press, 1984).
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