Then, it's a matter of walking the talk. The kids will be watching. If they see you making the tough decisions and lifestyle changes to get your own financial house in order, it will serve as a powerful motivator and example. But, if you slip back into old habits that, too, won't go unnoticed.

2) What parents do with liberty, the kids will do with license. One of the most important things any parent can do is to understand (and accept) this concept. What you do on a controlled, moderate level as a parent your kids are likely to take to the extreme. There are lots of Christian parents who insisted on their "liberty to drink socially" when they had small children, who would give anything if they could change things today. Many of them are dealing with grown kids who used their parents' liberty as a license to drink or use drugs destructively.

The same holds true for family money issues. Whatever your children see you do will tend to have a geometric effect on their behavior. If your children perceive a lack of self-control and good stewardship in the purchasing and savings decisions you make don't be surprised if one day you see the same behavior on their part being played out in an extreme, mutated form.

3) Keep the communication lines open. Like my friend Mike Root likes to say, "If you don't communicate -- you'll speculate." Nothing takes the place of open communications in a family. One of my regular "go to" passages in the Book is Deuteronomy 6:6-9:

"And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house on your gates." (NASV)

Although God was here speaking about the spiritual education parents owe their children, the principal holds even more broadly. As parents we must be good communicators with our children. There have been a lot of times over the years when I was able to parlay a drive to get a Coke, or a fishing trip, or just a walk through the yard into a teaching opportunity. As Christian parents, we realize that whatever the surface topic (school, friends, or financial issues) it all goes back to teaching God's principals for how to live this life and, prepare for the one to come.

Steve Diggs presents the No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar at churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at or call 615-834-3063. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church of Christ in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.

A complete financial compendium, 19 chapters
• What you can do today to get out of debt and kill the Debt Monster
• A,B,C's of handling your money God's way
• How to save, invest, and retire wisely
• How mutual funds work
• How to stop fighting over money
• What to teach your kids about money
• Learn how home & car buying, college financing and insurance work.
• How to develop a budget that works-FOREVER!
• Features simple charts, graphs, and easy-to-use forms.

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