Avoiding a moral-code approach
To best teach our children the ways Pluto uses money to corrupt us, we want to avoid two mistakes. First, we do not want our children to think as we think, and do as we do, simply out of a desire to please us and avoid punishment. Rather than making decisions for them, we need to enable them to make their own increasingly responsible decisions about money. Afterward we may reflect with them about their decision, but not before. Otherwise they might well learn how to conform to a moral code but still have no idea how to relate to the beast (Pluto) without getting bitten.
a negative attitude
The other mistake is to avoid is cultivating a negative attitude toward money. Like most adults, children tend to see things as either good or evil. If they learn that money is evil, they will simply want to avoid it.
This has two disadvantages. One, attempting to avoid any association with Pluto is both impossible and hardly prepares one for freedom in relation to him. Two, a negative attitude in one area of life quickly leads to a spirit of negativity which poisons all life and leads to despair. Freedom from Pluto means nothing if it isn’t done playfully.
Being dialectical in our teaching means keeping divergent points of view in mind at the same time. One, we need to teach our children that money neither makes one respectable nor contemptible in God’s eyes. All people, rich and poor alike, are sinners saved by grace alone.
Two, money is necessary but not good. Necessity neither justifies nor redeems it.
Three, the evil of money afflicts both those who have it and those who don’t. Through money, Pluto leads the rich to pride, hardness of heart, and delusions of grandeur. Through money, he leads the poor to envy and theft. His goal always is to ruin relationships between people and that danger remains a constant threat whether one is rich or poor.
(Today’s reflections were guided by Jacques Ellul’s book, Money and Power (trans. LaVonne Neff, Inter-Varsity Press, 1984).
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