Setting a Good Financial Example

What financial messages are you sending your children? Is your advice supported by your example? To see how well you are doing, consider the following questions:

  1. 1.

    Does my family attend tithing settlement together? Your positive answers to the bishop’s questions may leave lasting impressions on family members.

  2. 2.

    Are we honest in our financial dealings? While family members don’t see every financial transaction we make, they do observe many of them. For example, what do we do when a store clerk overlooks an item and doesn’t charge us for it? Do we seek to make an immediate correction?

  3. 3.

    Do we contribute to a savings account? By watching parents save for larger purchases, children can learn that it is possible to obtain even expensive items without going into debt for them.

  4. 4.

    Do we share with those who are less fortunate? Children learn important attitudes toward giving by seeing generous payment of fast offerings and contributions to charity; also, an occasional anonymous gift to someone in need helps children find the joy in giving.

  5. 5.

    Do we use credit wisely? Is credit used to finance impulsive purchases and luxuries? The seeds of materialism are sown when credit is used to satisfy whims. Credit card debt also burdens budgets and places extra strain on family relationships.

  6. 6.

    Do I avoid quarreling with my spouse about money? Angry words send negative messages to children.

  7. 7.

    Do we help our children plan for missions and education? It is important for children to know what financial responsibilities we expect them to assume during their young adult years.

  8. 8.

    Do we include our children in some budget decisions? Allowing family members to observe parents as they discuss family finances not only teaches them about money management but also allows them an opportunity to voice opinions and become involved in the process.

  9. 9.

    Do we avoid using money to compensate for not spending enough time with our children? Substituting gifts for parental involvement encourages materialism and may confuse children about the difference between love and money.

  10. 10.

    Do we encourage our teenagers to open a checking account before they leave home? As children grow up, they benefit from stepping into the adult world of finances while they still have a parental safety net to help them learn about checking accounts, debit cards, and the uses of credit.Jerry Mason, Lubbock, Texas

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Seven Tips for Helping Your Teens

1 Plan. Little good in life happens without a written plan. Unwritten goals often become unrealized intentions. Plan first with your spouse, then with your teenagers, possibly during family councils. Use a calendar and set goals.

2 Smile. Plan to have fun together. Jog; swim; play racquetball, tennis, or golf; attend a movie, play, or symphony; visit art galleries; study subjects of mutual interest; sing or play musical instruments together. Begin now. Teen years end quickly.

3 Serve. Discuss how to serve grandparents, neighbors, friends, or family. Painting, yardwork, snow removal, house and car cleaning—the list is as long as your imagination. In service, teenagers find joy in helping others and learn important lessons about love.

4 Teach. Read scriptures and share faith-promoting stories at mealtimes that teach simple gospel principles. Discuss current events, take field trips, or attend a class together. Talk about what it means to be a responsible citizen in the home, at church, and in the community.

5 Pray. Kneel together and pray with and for your teenagers. Hold family prayer. Give priesthood blessings. Pray for those who influence your teenager—friends, teachers, advisers, and work associates.

6 Listen. While listening to what teenagers have to say, pay special attention to what they don’t say: fears, tensions, likes, and dislikes. Listening provides insight into a teenager’s special world. Make opportunities to be together by driving to lessons, going shopping, attending school activities, or working together around the house.

7 Be kind. Quiet voices and smiles of approval convey acceptance and create good feelings faster than do frowns, criticisms, or lectures. Say “yes” more often than “no.” Trust more and use restrictive rules less. Kindness invites goodwill, which can bring greater love and peace.Richard Linford, Salt Lake City, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Scripture Chases for Children

We often include a scripture chase as part of our Sunday gospel time or Monday family home evening. To meet the needs of our children at differing ages, we have found it helpful to vary our format. Each child has either a missionary edition of the Book of Mormon (hardcover, item no. 30922, $2.00 U.S.; softcover, 30923, $1.50) or the illustrated Book of Mormon Stories (35666, $2.25) designed for basic readers. Then we do one or more of the following fun activities.

Picture chase. Call out the subject of one of the pictures and see who can find it first in the Book of Mormon.

Book chase. Tell the children the name of one of the books of the Book of Mormon and let them find it.

Verse chase. Read a verse and see who can find the correct reference.

Situation chase. Refer to a story or situation found in the scriptures and let the children search for it.

Idea chase. Ask the children where they can find words of the prophets about certain subjects, such as baptism, the Atonement, or forgiveness. Allow them to use the index if they are stumped.

While our children were young, we used only the Book of Mormon, but as they grew we began including the other standard works as well. We have been surprised to see how rapidly our children have become familiar with the stories and people of the scriptures.Karen F. Church, Pleasant Grove, Utah

Cutting Out Cutting Remarks

I was becoming increasingly concerned with the mean comments and name-calling that my children seemed to be using more and more frequently. I had tried several approaches to stop the negative talk without much success.

Then one Sunday my oldest son mentioned that his Primary lesson had been about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. I knew the story: the Lamanites, who had been converted by the Spirit through the teachings of Ammon and his brothers, repented and buried their weapons of war, covenanting with God that they would never use them again (see Alma 24:15–19).

Suddenly an idea came to me. If they could bury their weapons, or swords, then why couldn’t we bury our weapons—our words? An idea for a family home evening lesson began to take shape.

First, I asked my son who had mentioned the story to be prepared to tell it to the family and to read verses 17–18 from Alma 24 [Alma 24:17–18]. Next, I prepared some small slips of paper on which to write the words and phrases that needed to be buried. As a visual aid, I used a “Mormonad” poster showing a boy with knives flying out of his mouth and captioned, “Cutting remarks are really hurting” (available in distribution centers, item no. 35420, $1.00 U.S.). For our songs, I chose “Kindness Begins with Me” (Children’s Songbook, 145) and “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words” (Hymns, no. 232).

When Monday night came, I had the children write down on little slips of paper the objectionable words and phrases they had been using. Because it was pouring rain, I had to abandon my original idea of burying our words in the backyard and instead used the trash can. Still, the kids’ enthusiasm was remarkable. We made a ceremony out of burying our word “weapons” by promising not to use them again.

Since that time my children have found new and better ways to express themselves. And the Mormonad hangs in a prominent place as a reminder to speak kindly to one another. On rare occasions when someone forgets and uses unkind words, it is enough to say, “We buried that, remember?”Alice E. Workman, Vancouver, Washington

[illustration] Illustrated by Julianne Allen