Piggy Bank Principles


By Gabriella Smith

“I have a lot of money!” My 5-year-old brother exclaimed, as he excitedly dumped out his piggy bank earlier today. Turns out he only had about $3.65. It makes me laugh, thinking of how people’s perceptions of money change as they get older.

Back in my early days, money had two purposes: you spent it or you saved it (or tried to save it and usually ended up spending it on something smaller). I remember the time I had the grand idea that my younger sister would get a watch that came in a cereal box while we “jointly” saved to buy me a new watch. I had forgotten about it by the next day, which, I think, was a good thing. Now that I’m not 7 any more, I see the unfairness of such an economic endeavor.

When I was 7 or 8, I would buy small things as soon as I got my hands on any money. Then, as I got older, my interests changed but not my spending philosophy, as you’ll soon see. I started to be a bit smarter with my money around the age of 12, learning about a whole new element of spending.

My parents have always taught me and modeled for me the importance of good money management—things such as being generous, choosing purchases wisely, and saving my money. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I seriously started to manage my money.      (more…)

Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids

Remember when it was easy to post photos of your adorable baby, or messy toddler on Facebook? Remember how you could publicly bemoan sleepless nights, and kids pooping in the bathtub? How your fridge was full of magnets and fingerpaintings that were impossible to tell what they depicted? You could talk to your friends during playgroups, and get support during those naughty tantrums? Remember how you could Instagram just about any part of the chaos and it was still cute?

It’s not that easy anymore.

It’s hard to snap a photo that your middle schooler will approve of you posting on Facebook. You don’t really want to share about your son’s behavior when you take away the Xbox. You can’t really talk about the grades – good or bad – because your kid will be mad that you overshared. Your sleepless nights are caused by worry, not teething. You wonder about the influence of peers, not playgroups. Toys are now cars and electronic games.

There isn’t a lot of cute in the chaos. Instead, there is acne and braces and attitudes.

It can be a lonely time.

Oh, yes. There is a lot of joy, of course. You wouldn’t trade your kids for anything. But you just want to know that everything is going to be alright. That they’ll turn out ok. That they’ll grow up and make good decisions and all your hopes and dreams for them will come true.

And where are the other moms?   (more…)

Living in Liberty

By Diana Waring 


Freedom in relationships—the amazing impact freedom brings to relationships—that’s where we are going in this column, but we have to start with a brief history lesson from Russia. When we talk about a family “living in liberty,” questions inevitably arise concerning parental—or even church—authority. So, before the questions begin, consider a real-life example of what can happen when authority and freedom collide outside the bounds of love.

In the 1800s, an ancient political theory known as anarchy—“an absence of government and the absolute freedom of the individual”—became popular, especially in Russia. Believing that authority and freedom could not peacefully coexist, and given the brutal conditions of life under the tsar, many Russian anarchists chose to use violence against rulers in their attempt to gain political freedom during an authoritarian age. It is fascinating to note that the tutor of Tsar Alexander III viewed the Western form of political liberty (defined as “free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views”) as dangerous!1 The end result of the rising tensions between individuals and groups who were seeking “freedom” and authoritarian rulers who were keeping “control” of the masses was the destabilization of Russia, a major factor in the overthrow of the tsar and the success of the October Revolution by communists in 1917.

Assuming that you do not reign as a tsar in your home, your children are probably not going to seek the absolute freedom of anarchy! On the other hand, if your children are “born free and running wild,” will they discover the safety and joy that come from a Biblical model of parental authority? The challenge we each face is to discover the middle ground: appropriate liberty for our children with an appropriate authority for us as their parents—and to develop both of these with 1 Corinthians 13-style love.      (more…)