High School students in Mrs. Coughlin’s Personal Finance class are learning what it means to leave a legacy of giving. “We have been discussing how easy it is to convince ourselves that giving is something that we will do in the future,” shared Mrs. Coughlin. “We can’t think, ‘When I make as much as Bill Gates, then I’ll be able to give.’ The reality is the ‘future me’ won’t know how to be generous with a lot unless the ‘present me’ learns how to be generous with a little.” Coughlin’s students are learning Dave Ramsey’s approach to giving. Mr. Ramsey cites giving as being key to actually building wealth. “Live like no one else, so you can give like no one else,” said Mr. Ramsey in a video to students.

“It kills our testimony to others when we aren’t generous with what God’s given us,” said Mrs. Coughlin.

Students have been thinking through worthy causes and learning why giving should be at the forefront of their minds when they create their budgets. “We are going to research ways to give on a school/family level, community/church level, and national level. Then we will, as a class, pool our money and give to a different cause at each level. The aim is to help our students see that giving should be the first thing in their budgets, not the last thing, if there is anything left-over, “shared Mrs. Coughlin.

Ideas for charitable contributions in the class included helping Syrian Refugees and donations to: St. Jude Medical Center, The Make a Wish Foundation, Children’s Hunger Fund and the Castaic Animal Shelter. Chris, a student shared about St. Jude Medical Center, “Parents can’t afford to treat their kids with cancer and at St. Jude they can get treatment for free.” Another student Hayden, is excited to get involved with Children’s Hunger Fund, “You can donate and give canned food and help fight hunger by sending the food to different countries.”

In Coughlin’s class, students have been going through various Bible verses as they examine what God’s Word has to say about how they budget their money. “God expects us to give a portion of what He blesses us with,” said Mrs. Coughlin. “We will make a plan for how students can carry out God’s Word in practical ways.” As Dave Ramsey says, “Money is important, but people are most important.” He encourages students to hold money with an open hand, as well as to find the fun in giving and being a giver.

Mrs. Coughlin used John D. Rockefeller and the legacy that he left behind as one of the biggest examples of an amazing philanthropist and giver. As a boy, he gave to charity from his first paycheck of just over one dollar. Students were encouraged to start small now, like Rockefeller did, so they can practice giving with little. The class then discussed other ways that they can give. “Volunteering one’s time, talents and resources are ways to give when you are young too,” shares Mr. Ramsey in his video.

A student added, “We need to give first, not from what is left. It is the most important thing to do.” Mrs. Coughlin encouraged her class to think about what legacy they will leave behind with their money. “It kills our testimony to others when we aren’t generous with what God’s given us,” said Mrs. Coughlin.