Dave Says

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 1:53am

Dear Dave,

We have three kids enrolled in Christian schools, and it’s very expensive. We truly believe they’re getting a great, faith-based education, but they’re only in elementary school and already we’ve had to dig into our savings.

— Maureen

Dear Maureen,

Private schools can have academic advantages, and in some cases a good Christian school can have spiritual advantages. But if you can’t cash flow it, you can’t do it. It’s just that simple.

My kids didn’t go to private Christian schools, and they’re all strong Christians. They went to public schools and learned to interact with people of no faith, different faiths and how to display their faith adequately in the marketplace.

Lots of times people send their kids off to a Christian school, only to find out they still have to teach them about life — the good and the bad. And the fact is, you’re just kidding yourself if you think sending them to a Christian school means they’ll be in a perfect world where no one ever acts mean or nasty.

I hope you can find a way to continue, since this is an important decision to you. But from what you’ve said it just doesn’t make good financial sense.

— Dave

Dear Dave,

Is there some way to put a block on a credit report prior to sending a kid to college, so that the credit card hustlers can’t get to them?

— Trevor

Dear Trevor,

No, there’s not. Unfortunately, in today’s culture that’s part of becoming an adult. When you hand them car keys there’s no way to put a block on how they drive. And when they turn 21, there’s no way to put a block on what they ingest.

About the only thing you can do, Trevor, is teach your kids to the best of your ability and be a good parent — a good example. Teach them why debt is dumb, and show them how it eats away at their ability to save money and build wealth.

And for goodness sake, don’t use credit cards yourself. Kids can smell a hypocrite a mile away!

But even after all that it’s still not illegal for people to be dumb with their money. If it were, there would be a lot more jails!

— Dave

Dear Dave,

Our church is considering letting members use credit cards to tithe or give to other programs. I’m trying to prepare for a finance team meeting, and I want to be prepared. What advice would you offer?

—Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

My advice would be to say no to this idea. Do you really believe people should tithe or give to the church with a credit card when we live in a culture where the number one cause of divorce is money problems?

I know people will argue that it’s more convenient. Well, part of the exercise of giving is to build the character of the giver. I doubt anyone’s going to break a sweat writing a check, but if they do it probably won’t cause them any spiritual harm.

I would also challenge your finance team to find one place in the Bible where something positive is said about debt. God calls debt a curse and says the borrower is slave to the lender. When God talks that way about something, it makes me think it’s probably not a good thing.

This isn’t a salvation issue. But why in the world would leaders of a church want to steer the congregation toward something negative? Hopefully, you can put an end to this bad idea before it’s too late!

— Dave

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By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dear Maureen; You cannot make a better investment than the education of your children. If you live in Davidson County I would advise you to make whatever sacrifice you need to make in order to keep your children out of public schools.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"...great faith-based education"Is that an oxymoron?

By: Funditto on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Maureen. Save the private school tuition funds for middle and high school. Elementary schools are OK here. It's the upper grades that count and don't prepare as well for the ACT and SAT. Unless it's a magnet. Good luck.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

See, that's why I don't want kids. I'm too high maintenance. Do you know how many cute shoes and outfits can be purchased with the price of one semester in private schools. Girl, I say dump the kids, move away so that they can't find you and enjoy your life without all that kid stress.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

As far as tithing the church, if you can read, stay at home and read the bible at home girl. It's cheaper and you can keep your 10%. Besides, I haven't found a church yet that didn't have more sin going on in them than most brothels. Churches are full of crooks and sex predators. Stay at home girl. You're better off in the long run.

By: Gusdog on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Many private schools are overrated. I went to two years of high school at a local non-denominational Christian school, and spent my last two years at my zoned Metro school, and the Metro school was more challenging and prepared me better for college and graduate school. And while I'll grant that I graduated high school 17 years ago, the same things were being said about the public schools then. Motivated students will succeed in whatever environment in which they find themselves. There are many fine private schools out there, but most are not worth the investment, frankly. They're certainly not worth exhausting one's savings.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Gusdog, I couldn't agree more. History is History and Math is Math regardless of where it's taught. I've said this a thousand times, education starts at home. I don't give a damn if you spend one million dollars per semester for your child to go to a private school, it's up to the student AND the parent to ensure the child's education. The school system is there to deliver the lessons and nothing more, it's up to the student and the parent to ensure the child receives it. These parents expect too much out of the school system and the school systems are stepping beyond what they need to be doing. For example, this whole issue about teaching the Bible in schools, well that what church is for. The school system should be teaching math, English, history, etc. They need to keep is simple and stick with the basics. Allow the parents to teach them all that other crap and let the church teach them their particular faith. That's the problem with the public schools, they are trying to do too much and that's why it's never enough money. Keep is simple and get back to the basics of education.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

First papa, now NY1, something's going on...I agree with that last post...lol

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

NewYorker1 makes some excellent points but the flaws in public education start with the peer group of those not interested in education. It is the group of kids as whole that determines how much you learn and what you learn. I have always said that if you play with manure you will get manure on your hands. Who you associate with has as much to do with your education as th course itself. Public school education has become a major part of the welfare system. There are reasons that people are on welfare other than bad breaks. Faulty genetics play a large part.