My dad worked in the world of finance and taught my younger brother and me how important it was to have a savings account and keep track of the money we made. I started baby-sitting when I was eleven and got money for birthdays and Christmas, but I didn't get an allowance. I was happy to do things and help out around the house. Mom and Dad did a lot to help me.
One favorite activity in the summer was riding bikes with my friend Sandy. We always seem to end up at the corner drug store for a sundae. Often we looked through the current movie magazines. Annette and Sandra Dee were the teen idols for girls, as we’d want to wear our hair like them, and we'd swoon over Ricky Nelson and Frankie Avalon. Sometimes we'd buy a magazine if they had some neat photos of our favorite stars.
One time Sandy wanted to borrow money for a magazine, and when we wanted our sundaes, she needed more for that too. I didn't mind loaning her the cash. After all, that's what friends do. I’d sometimes borrow from her too, but not often. When we were together one day she mentioned that I owed her money. I was surprised because she'd borrowed more from me than I had from her.
When I went home I said something to my parents about it. Dad told me to get a pencil and paper, and write down how much I borrowed and how much she borrowed, and for what. I added up the amount, and subtracted what I borrowed from her, and it showed that Sandy owed me quite a lot more money.
I took that paper to Sandy, as Dad suggested, and she went into her bedroom and brought out the money that she owed me. I remember when I left her house hearing her Mother say, "Didn't I tell you that borrowing money from friends will cause problems?”
We continued our friendship, but I realized that not everyone would be as responsible as Sandy in repaying me. After that I decided not to take more than lunch money to school, and that way I could ssimply tell others I didn't have money to loan. Because like Dad said, unless you can afford to lose it, don't loan it.
SO WHEN IS IT OKAY TO LOAN MONEY TO FRIENDS?
*Today it’s tough because a lot of kids ask for money and sometimes it's a large amount. We know how many kids are doing bad things with money, like smoking and drugs, and we wouldn't want to contribute to that.
*It would also be okay if you knew someone was having a rough time and maybe didn’t have something that they needed, and you could help out. That would be the kind of gift that you wouldn’t expect to be returned, but the kind Jesus talks about giving out of love.
*It probably would be okay if you had a pal like Sandy, and knew her and trusted her, to loan her money for a sundae or a magazine. Just make sure the lending doesn't get out of hand. Otherwise you might start to resent your friend.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Remember the wise King named Solomon? He wrote the books of Proverbs and Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastics. In Ecclesiastics 5:10 he says "Whoever loves money, never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." He was a pretty cool King, but he did have money and yet he knew it didn't satisfy him. That's why he said it was meaningless.
In 1Timothy, chapter 6: 10; it says:
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
This doesn't mean that money itself is evil. It says "The love of money." And anything else we love so much it separates us from God. I think Timothy means that when we have money we can get into trouble if we don't know how to handle it wisely.
All in all, what I learned from the Bible and from my experiences with Sandy was it’s really important to keep track of the money we have and what we do with it. God tells us to be good stewards. By being careful with our money, we honor Him, and also guard against unwise decisions.
CHAT IT OUT
Hey, Samie girls, don't be afraid to talk to adults. We don't bite and we don't have fleas! Sometimes it will even surprise you about our tween experiences. Talk about this:
1. Is it okay to loan money and if so, under what conditions?
2. Should we make a rule about the amount to loan a friend? And set up a payment plan?
3. What if that friend doesn't pay back what they owe, when they said they would? Are they still our friend?
Hey girls, have you ever had a problem with loaning money? Share your experience in the comment section below!
NOTE TO PARENTS
I was raised by a wise Dad, and that first experience with Sandy helped mold and guide me through the years to come. I also know today kids are getting bombarded with peer pressure and the demand for money for so many things. I well remember with our three in the 80’s how difficult it was at times.
Making children responsible for duties and chores around the house gives them a feeling of contributing, and it helps you out, and allows them to make some extra money. Explain to them that because "everyone else” is doing something, it isn’t always possible for them with your budget. Values are learned at an early age and helping them make wise financial decisions will guide them in the years to come.
If you have thoughts on this importants subject, we'd love to hear them!