“You are that Dad!”

Our younger son (Noah, 14) confronted Shannon and I a few days ago on how we spend our money.  He said we should be giving more to the poor and spending less on ourselves.  Among other things, he listed the new HD TV, exercise bike, kitchen table and kayaks.  He was particularly adamant the money we’d spent on movies at the theater this summer (Pirates 4, Harry Potter 7B, Super 8, Cowboys and Aliens).

It was hard not to get defensive.  “We give a lot to charity…”  “We used coupons for those films…”  “Those new things were gifts…” (replacing things we’d gotten for free or at thrift stores when we moved back from the UK).

But God was definitely speaking through him to us.  I was more radical about my possessions when I was younger, and as we have been doing better financially, it has been easy to become complacent and more materialistic.  Perhaps we are unique in this regard? 

Yes, it could have been more impressive if he started by telling a story about a rich guy with lots of sheep and a poor guy with only one sheep (“You are that Dad!”).   But it was hard not to be proud that our teenage son was willing to challenge us on how we spend our money.


  1. Like father, like son! I hear echoes of the past…old college day speeches heard through the mouth of babes… 🙂

  2. It’s great to see how well your children listened to what you had to say. It’s sobering to hear them repeat it back to you. My daughter is also a good steward: “We already have one- we don’t need another one.”

  3. Wow, brings back memories for me of you introducing a group of us Claremont IV students to John Alexander and his book, “Your Money or Your Life” (on the Berkeley Evangelism Project in 1990, if I remember correctly). Though I don’t remember the specifics of the book, the sentiments continue to ring in my mind years later. A good challenge…though I wouldn’t want to fall into legalism about it either. Just by fact of living in the U.S., we have so much materially compared to most of the world!

  4. Jonathan, well done. I’d forgotten about that. It’s such a great title, Your Money or Your Life. Yeah, hopefully, I’ll be able to keep hearing challenges from my sons.

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