Hebrews 4:16

Let us then come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teaching Economics in Life and in School ~ part 1

It is the time of year when you are probably already set on what you will be teaching, and more than likely you have already planned for what you need and made the necessary purchases. However, if you are like me... at some point you may have dropped the ball and decided your summer break really was a magical time for you and somewhere in your fairy-land wishing you didn't want to plan or even think about school.

In all honesty, I have thought about school.. a lot, actually. I have been working diligently, trying to be a help and a blessing by creating materials that will be a blessing to homeschooling families.  I just haven't wanted to sit down and "plan" out our weeks and days as fervently as I have been wanting to write and teach. :)  ...sigh...

My husband gave me grace yesterday when I confessed,  " I am just not ready." He said, it's ok Dawn. Your always ready when you need to be.   I thought about that and realized, he is right. He was giving me permission not to worry about it because it didn't matter and doesn't really.. if I don't have it all 'planned' perfectly  on paper. I have most of it mapped out in my head, but it is the connecting of the two where I need to refine  my skills.  However, this post is not about that it is about Economics!

Do you find  yourself wondering what to do when it comes to this subject? Maybe trying to find the best tools to teach or books to read. Economics can be a dry subject, really.  Just thinking about it for some people makes them want to jump out of their chairs. Then for the type A personality folks out there.. you know who you are.. YOU love this! :) It is planning, it is numbers, it is order. Ahh...maybe some of our leaders in positions of authority should take yearly economics classes, huh?  I won't get up on my soapbox with that subject, but it is a plausible idea.

Take time to think about how important teaching economics to our students is and then consider what it is you really want them to know.

There are so many ideas floating around that will bombard us at some point and truthfully being aware of what is real and what is supposed will help us prepare our children for economic liberty. ( is that even a concept that is possible?)

As I have floated thoughts back and forth in my own mind, wondering if I should even be the one to attempt teaching this subject to my children.  This is one of my own weak spots, because I would oftentimes rather not think about "money". Yet, it is in the sense of knowing what is necessary, what is right, what is good, what is important that we can base our concept of economics.

I am beginning to formulate my own ideas in relation to the study of Economics that I want to direct my children through and to as they tackle this subject in their life. These ideas, I believe can be applied to every aspect of their lives.

Let's look at a definition of what Economics is first of all:
It is the study of production and consumption of goods and the transfer of wealth that is necessary to both produce and obtain goods.( taken from the website www.whatiseconomics.org)

With that in mind.. economics affects everything in our lives. It affects people, industries, resources, labor, investments, taxes, governments, ....on and on.  ( what else is there)

My definition of economics  encompasses more. It is the way we relate our needs with our gifts towards others to both give and receive so that our needs are met.

Now, we can teach that it solely relates to money and monetary issues, but it doesn't. Read this article by Leonard Read called, I Pencil.

We can apply Economic Principles to every area of our life, not just our finances. In fact, I wonder if we could look at things with a shrewd eye, as most do when it comes to their finances, if we would begin to see a change in so many other areas of our lives.  Take some time to think of the principles I suggested and see if you can also find the economics of your life( relationships - the Lord first and then  your family and then others, prayer, work and  of course, finances) increasing exponentially.

Things I want to consider when teaching economics to my children:

1. Commit everything the Lord and to prayer
2. Be a Giver
3. Be wise
4. Be hardworking and diligent
5. Be timely
6. Save

Commit everything to the Lord and Prayer:

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to submit our requests unto the Lord, being careful for nothing. ( No..thing) Bring it all to the Lord, in honest submission and trust that He is able to work out all things for your good when your heart is steadfast for Him. ( Romans 8:28)

1Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to pray w/o ceasing.  Keep the details of your life present before the only One who can give you the Wisdom to make wise decisions, both fundamentally and economically.

Matthew 6:33 teaches a pivotal economic principle.. To seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and know then that all the "things" that you have need of will be given to you.

Be a giver:

I want to always bring everything back to Scripture for my children. Always bring it back to the beginning. I am reminded of how Abraham gave to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-24. I am not pointing out an absolute in relation to economic principles beyond the concept that Abraham GAVE out of his abundance. That is one of the significant economic principles of I want to teach my children, to be so wholly committed to the Lord that they do not hold on to the things of this world as their bounty and they would be generous givers.

Be wise:

A thorough study of the book of Proverbs will enlighten anyone on the concept of wisdom.  Being wise, economically, is really just practicing common sense. And can I say, being trustworthy... trusting the Lord to also meet your needs and guide you in your choices.
Proverbs 1:5 says that wise men add to their learning, gaining wisdom.  - Encourage the skill of studying
Proverbs 13:20 says that when we walk with wise men we will become wise. - Encourage seeking wise counsel in all decisions.
Proverbs 9:12 tells us that our wisdom will reward us. - The wisdom of the world is foolishness in the eyes of God. Always temper everything with the Word and remember that those eternal rewards outweigh the temporal ones, however, God provides both eternally and temporally and in that acknowledgement we will be rewarded when we diligently seek him. ( Hebrews 11:6)

Be diligent and hard-working:

The Bible reminds us to be diligent and hard-working.  Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that  it is God who gives us the power to get wealth, and in Proverbs 10:4 we read that when we are lazy and idle we become poor but a man who is diligent to work with his hands becomes rich.

I often remind my children of the verse in 2 Thessalonians 3:10,  A man who does not work does not eat. My youngest child had this verse memorized at an early age. :) I am not a hard taskmaster, but I must have quoted it multiple times to help her understand the importance of diligence.

If you go to Ecclesiastes chapter 5 you read about the vanity of riches. In verse 12 it says that the sleep of a diligent worker is sweet. Not only does working hard, often times it is those small steps...little by little that add up, but it is health to our body as well as our bank account.  My children are learning, that ill-gotten gain means very little and so with that comes less responsibility.  As will gifts, when given in abundance we tend to abuse the very  nature of that gift.  This is easy to miss in our materialistic world which  we live in.  Especially, here in our nation where all we need is truly at our finger tips.

My husband is a worker and I am so thankful for his diligent faithfulness. He is showing our son how to take care of his family by being purposeful to meet our needs by using his hands. He has a gift to fix anything and it has served him well on many occasions by granting him favor over others. His willingness to work when asked has placed him before others on the job because his boss knows he can count on him to do the job and do it well. This is a pivotal lesson for our children to learn. To be diligent, hard-working and trustworthy in their work.

Be timely:

Being timely is a lost art in our modern culture. And to be honest, not an area I have conquered in my own life. This goes hand in hand with diligence, but it can delve a bit deeper. We want to teach respect for others and for authority.  Being timely with their investing and with their bill-paying will affect their finances drastically.  Applying it to the economics of their lives, will give them a character trait which shows their respect towards others and the value of their time.

Time is a commodity( a great economic vocab word there).  It is something most people wish they had more of. Something many wish they could get back. This is a huge learning lesson here at my house because mom's love language is time. If there is one thing that can bless me or cause me to feel a bit overwhelmed is a loss or a waste of my time.  Most often the Lord has big lessons for me when it comes to this area., but I want to teach my children to value time and to honor that time the Lord has given them to live out their lives for Him serving others.


Saving, for God's glory and as He leads, is one of those gifts we can give ourselves. I have found that when I do save, it isn't always used the way I had planned. :) God is good with that and this is where I want to teach my children the habit of obedience.   Luke 2:51-52 is a precious reminder of the habitual obedience that I long to teach my children. This, however, is not something I can hammer into them.. it is a heart issue. It is something I commit to the Lord and trust that He is ever at work in their lives for his good pleasure.

The art of saving can be both a blessing and an opportunity to bless others.  I have watched how faithfully others have significantly helped not only their financial standing when putting away little by little pieces over time, but in one swoop can alter the life of another by generously giving what they have saved when there is a need. This principle deeper roots that lend towards blessed is the one who gives more than the one who receives, however, it is the idea that when we save always be willing to obey the Lord in what He may be asking you to do with it.

This comes to the end of my list but I want to tie it all up with a story.  I love to bless others. I feel so blessed by God's grace and his mercy. I love to see people smile. It is a joy to feel like I can be a help to someone, but sometimes I don't want to 'give'. Sometimes I have felt like I give, give, give....  Times like this when I am living in the 'Land of Me'.. I miss the beauty of generosity entirely.   All that I have belongs to the Lord. All that I HAVE belongs to Him.  It is not mine to own or to hold on to. I will not take it with me.  What I will see though, are the hearts of those whose lives I have sown the Word of God into as I lived my life here on this earth.  My children are my greatest mission field, I long to see them standing with me face to face before the King of Glory crying out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God.  

Isaiah 54 tells me that a woman's spiritual children are often greater than those of her womb. It is important to sow seed of eternal value. Biblical Economics are what I am talking about. Sow truth and reap an abundant harvest for the King. Yet, when we are not faithless with what we have been given, even what we have been given can be taken away.  So, we must know the principles of economics in all areas of live, relating people, industry, goods and the transfer of wealth in order to sow those most important seeds of truth and love into the lives of all we encounter.

Now you ask me: What can I use to teach economics? :) Below is a list of resources I have found to be  superbly wonderful! Look for my next post that will discuss the importance of teaching economics in the light of history and giving our children the tools to understand the difference of Free Market Economics vs other world markets.



Some of my favorite Resources:
The Penny Candy Series from Bluestocking Press
Common Sense Economics 
The Freeman Magazine
Biblical Economics

RC Sproul and Compass Cinema have a new product called:

Economics for Everybody

Lesson Plans and Websites:
Stossel in the Classroom

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