If I asked you how often you prayed about your children and their futures, you might say, “Countless times every day!”
But if I asked you how often you pray about last quarter’s GDP, you might admit you’ve never prayed about it at all.
There is a reason for this. Our children are obviously, intimately connected to our daily lives and our responsibility as parents. GDP is cocktail-party chatter among ivory-tower elites.
This is why we don’t often connect the macro ideas of economics to the core principles from which they originate. And if we’re not making the connection, we’re not able to help our children make the connection, either.
Why does it matter? Well, we want our children to make good choices, right? One of the core principles of economics involves making good choices.
We are finite beings who desire to please God with our limited time and talents. We want our kids to do the same. Because we are limited, we must make choices. We can’t escape this reality.
We also can’t escape the costs paid and the tradeoffs made when we make our choices. We need to maximize the benefits we seek and minimize the costs if we’re to be the best stewards we can be with our limited resources. As I write in IFWE’s new homeschool economics curriculum, Biblical Foundations of the Economic Way of Thinking, when we apply the economic way of thinking to all of our choices, from what to eat for breakfast to where to go to college, we are more prudent. We are better stewards of our scarce time and treasure. This is economics.
It’s critical to start teaching children at an early age that they were made by their Creator to fulfill a purpose that only they can fulfill. It’s critical to teach them that the economic way of thinking helps all of us make God-pleasing decisions as they fulfill their purpose. Here are three tips for teaching and implementing the economic way of thinking in your family.
Don’t Be Intimidated by the Word “Economics”
Economics is just a fancy way of understanding the process of making choices under conditions of scarcity. Guess what? You already do this on a daily basis.
You can’t purchase everything you want when you go to the grocery store. You must weigh what you need and what you prefer against what your budget allows you to buy. You seek to get the most you can for the least expense.
This is the economic way of thinking. You do it all the time; you just aren’t thinking explicitly about it. You and your kids are already economists. You just didn’t know it!
Good Economic Thinking Always Starts with How Individuals Make Choices
When thinking about economics, start with how we make choices as individuals. Then move up to talking about more societal or global conditions.
You pray for your children before you think to pray about GDP. But when we measure GDP, we’re really trying to measure societal progress, and societal progress depends on how well each individual is doing.
Talking about how individuals make choices makes economics more relevant and accessible.
Replace “Economics” with “Stewardship”
We are called to make God-pleasing decisions. It’s why we’re here, and it’s how we’re going to make lasting contributions to God’s kingdom.
Economics is about maximizing profit with your time, talent, and resources. The more profit you have, the more you have left over to serve others with.
When you use your God-given gifts and talents to serve others, you are doing what God created you to do. This is true whether you’re a janitor, barista, pastor, or hedge-fund manager. If God has created your children to do something, they must do it with integrity. When they do that well, they are being good stewards.
Economics is so important to learn at an early age because it helps our children integrate God-pleasing decision-making into their lives. When more people are making-God pleasing decisions, then we will see greater societal flourishing. I hope these tips – and our curriculum – are a blessing as you teach your children about their role in making the world a better place.
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Want to try a sample? Download FREE lessons from both new IFWE courses on calling and economics at IFWEHomeschool.com.