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Credit Card Parenting

Credit cards can be good, and credit cards can be bad.  It depends on how you use them.

If you use credit cards to pay for necessary things for which you will have the money soon and exercise consistent discipline in paying them off the moment the funds come in, they can be beneficial.  However, if you use credit cards to buy things that aren’t absolutely necessary without knowing how or when you will actually pay for those things, those tiny pieces of plastic will enslave you and steal your peace of mind.

Believe me.  Todd and I learned our lesson the hard way!

Even so, credit cards are a way of life for most people, and the gimme-now mentality that they foster has spilled over into almost every area of our lives. 

Take parenting, for instance.

You’re busy.  You’re tired. You’ve been pulled in a dozen directions all day long and don’t have the energy or presence of mind to deal with even one more thing. Inevitably, this is when teachable moments with your children arise, moments of raw emotion and vulnerability brought on by internal conflict or emotional hurt inflicted by the enemy.

There’s a Bible verse for that, you think to yourself through the fog of fatigue. I know there is, but I just can’t remember it right now.  Hey, didn’t Pastor So-and-so preach on that once?I think I have the notes somewhere. But your Bible and your sermon notes are all the way in the next room, and your sofa has molded nicely to your backside. It’s the moment you’ve been dreaming about for hours, so you settle back, smile into your child’s open face and offer the kind of prepackaged, Nabisco cookie platitudes that satisfy, but aren’t baked with love.

“It’ll be okay, Sweetie.”

“I know you’ll do the right thing.”

“Just give it some time.  Things will work themselves out.”

Swipe. 

Or, offering a weak prayer, you are surprised when the Holy Spirit actually brings words of wisdom to mind.  You cringe. These words will hurt. They might make your sweet-right-now child morph back into the monster he/she was last night. At the very least, they will start a long conversation that you aren’t really up for.

Besides, right now, you’re the hero, and you don’t want to mess that up by telling your wounded darling something they might not want to hear.  So, you water down the Truth. You cut it into bites and feed them half.

“God works all things together for good..” for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

“God loves you…” and disciplines those He loves.

“God has a plan for your life…” that might include great personal sacrifice on your part for His ultimate glory.

Swipe. 

In the moment, words like these will save you confrontation and earn you snuggles and tearful promises that you are the best parent ever—you might even get promoted to BFF—but in the long run, they will cost you. 

You see, missed opportunities to disciple your child and train them up in the way they should go accumulate interest that your child will have to pay when they reach adulthood: confusion, disillusionment, apathy, unsatisfied longing, spiritual vulnerability. 

I’ve seen it happen in too many families.  It’s a painful thing to watch.

Please don’t learn this lesson the hard way!

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