As I’ve mentioned many times before, Girl Ninja and I are heavily involved in a high school outreach program called Young Life. We’ve formed some pretty amazing relationships with high school kids over the years. Listening to them sob after they broke up with their most recent boyfriend/girlfriend. Visiting them in the hospital a few hours after they tried to end their life. Or yesterday, attending the funeral for the mother of one of our 16-year-old Junior boys, Tyler.
His mother died unexpectedly two weeks ago. His father, well, he’s never met his father. Tyler is parentless. It breaks my heart to think that his mom wont be there to watch his high school basketball games next season, that he has no parent to cheer him on as he walks across the stage to receive his H.S. diploma. That his future children will never meet their grandma.
My heart is heavy for him.
While we were attending the memorial service I noticed a piece of paper indicating a trust fund had been set up for Tyler at Bank Of America. Anyone could give money to the fund, which Tyler (or his legal guardian) would then be able to use to help provide for him.
When Girl Ninja noticed the piece of paper she approached me and asked if we should donate to the fund.
I told her “No.”
You see, I imagine this trust fund will collect a few thousand dollars at most. This money, although generously given, will probably not do much to provide Tyler a sense of security or provision.
The reality is, six-months from now, many of us that were at the memorial service will go about our lives. Numbing ourselves to the reality that Tyler is still parentless. It’s easy to donate to a trust fund today, when your heart hurts for Tyler, but what about next year? Will we be as affected by his loss then, as we are now? Doubtful.
I see an opportunity for Girl Ninja and I to do something greater.
Tyler’s best friend is Dante. Custody of Tyler is going to Dante’s single-mom. Dante’s family of two, now becomes a family of three. I imagine this adds a significant amount of financial stress to Dante’s mom. She now has two boys that will want to go to prom. That will play sports that require expensive equipment. That likely will want to go to college. That need new clothes at the start of a school year. The list goes on and on.
So while Girl Ninja and I wont be donating to Tyler’s trust fund, we hope to provide for him in a much more meaningful way. We want to sit down with him and express our desire to help him financially when he needs it. Explain that we understand it would be uncomfortable for him to have to ask his friend’s mom for money to go to the movies with his girlfriend.
Tyler has to grow up a heck of a lot quicker than most sixteen year olds I know, but we still want him to know that he can be a kid. That prom expenses don’t have to be a worry. That if his gas-tank is running on empty, we’re happy to fill it up for him.
Now let me be clear, we don’t want to be Tyler’s parents. We aren’t and could never fill that void. We would just be honored/delighted to provide him some type of financial security that his parents no longer can.
We have been blessed with a healthy income and minimal expenses. What kind of Christians would we be if we pretended the money we have sitting in our bank accounts is ours? Truth is, some of this money is Tyler’s… the big man upstairs just decided to have us be the stewards of it.
DO YOU GET IT!?
This is why I punched debt in the face. This is why we don’t keep up with the Joneses.
This my friends, is financial freedom.