Temporary Deprivation

He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Proverbs 13:11

In today’s “instant gratification” society, impulse shopping has become a way of life. We see a new set of golf clubs, a dress, even a minivan, and without thinking we’re suddenly pulling out a credit card. But what kind of message does this behavior send to our children?

You can find the answer by watching a child open an endless stack of presents during a birthday party attended by friends. One after another, expensive gifts are tossed aside with little more than a glance and no thought to a “thank you.” We shouldn’t be surprised. Prizes that are won cheaply are of little value, regardless of the cost to the original purchaser.

On the other hand, the child who spends weeks doing extra chores in order to earn money for a highly sought reward learns several important lessons. He sees how honest work over a lengthy period of time causes his nest egg to grow (Proverbs 13:11). He begins to understand how goals can be accomplished through patience and persistence (Hebrews 12:1). And when the reward is in hand, he takes better care of it and appreciates it far more than if it had simply been handed to him (Psalm 128:2).

We suggest that you and your family adopt a policy of “temporary deprivation” when it comes to spending. It’s ultimately more satisfying…and much less expensive.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you give your kids too much?
  • Are you teaching your children to earn and appreciate their rewards?
  • How often do you implement “temporary deprivation”?

Lord, help us to be wise in the way we give to our children and provide for their wants and needs. It’s so easy to just go along with the crowd and do what everyone else seems to be doing. Show us how You want us to live. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.