National Debt, Family-Style

eating from a can

You spend all your cash at a nightclub Friday night. Sunday morning, you go grocery shopping and put the groceries on your credit card because they’re a necessity. Next weekend you pass up an extra shift on your job because you’re exhausted. Ten years later, you owe $15,000 on your credit cards and it takes five years of working two jobs to pay it off.

You didn’t have the discipline to forgo the nightclub, work the extra shift, eat canned goods from your pantry till the next paycheck . . . Now it costs you a lot more time and energy to get yourself out of the hole.

It’s the same way with raising kids. They challenge us all the time, testing to see if we’re weak. It’s easy, now, to be inconsistent. Your son wants an extra cookie and you cave in because you’re too tired to say no. It’s easier to pick up the living room floor yourself than it is to get your daughter to do so. One of your children makes a disrespectful comment in front of company and you don’t address it at the time because you don’t want to cause a “scene.” Ten years later, your kids are taller than you and they’re raising hell all over the community.

It’s hard to do the right thing now. I always try to remember, when one of these little challenges crops up, that any time and energy saved now will be paid back with interest in the future — by myself, my child, and our community. As the Bible says in Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

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