We played the game Cashflow yesterday, in which you're a rat stuck in the rat race, trying to get out by creating residual income. Aside from my 8 year old winning, it was a lot of fun! At the beginning of the game you have to pick your dream on the game board and set your cheese on it (I guess this is the proverbial carrot on a stick that keeps you going while you're stuck in the rat race). The dreams you can choose from vary, but for the most part are ridiculously expensive one-time experiences like heli-skiing in Switzerland for $100,000 or something of that sort. I had a terrible time finding a dream, because they were not my dreams. I can't imagine working my whole life and saving and sacrificing for a trip that will be over in a week or a month.
And the other thing that gave me pause, was that the entire goal of the game is to create enough residual income so you can quit working. Now I know that work is work and that not everyone has the privilege of doing something they enjoy, but I find the goal of this game flawed. Surely this kind of perspective that sees work as bad and something to be avoided if at all possible is going to be the downfall of our society, if it hasn't been already. We work now, not because God says it is good, not because we are to take dominion over the earth, but to achieve an end and that end is to afford luxuries and then ultimately to be able to afford luxuries while no longer working.
This doesn't mean I don't find any value in the game. We may buy it at some point. I found the following helpful about the game:
1. It gave my kids practice with arithmetic
2. It helped my kids see the damage of all the "doodads" that we don't really need, but add up to a lot of money.
3. It allowed my kids to see how damaging debt can be in terms of month to month expenses.
4. It helped my kids to grasp the concept of delayed gratification- working to pay off debt and investing early on to reap the rewards later in the game.
However, I find the ultimate goal- to work for as few years as possible for the greatest riches possible to be shallow and contrary to Biblical Christianity.
I did enjoy getting to see which dreams my kids picked. I learned that Measle and I both have the same dream. I'll share it with you at the risk of putting myself out there. I dream of going to Africa, Ethiopia I think, and taking friends from our church with us, and working with orphans. I would like for us to take enough money with us to complete a building project- like a school where the Bible would be taught along with other subjects. I don't think it will take $150,000, which is encouraging. And I'm so grateful that there are people already doing what I dream of and that my family can "invest" in what they're doing right now. All God's Children International has an orphan care ministry established in Ethiopia, as well as Bulgaria and Guatemala. Rafiki International has wonderful orphan care programs in several countries in Africa that include a classical Christian education and they have recently begun building schools for children not living in their homes.
So, to sum it up: Cashflow is a fun game, but Christian parents will need to explain to their kids, as my friend Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub has done so well, that our goal is to lay up treasure in heaven, not on earth, and also that God made us in His image to work and declared that it was good. Is retirement a Biblical concept? How about early retirement? I'm not talking about changing careers to something more enjoyable, but no longer contributing to our society. Do you think we have a little problem with consumption and that it drives our work ethic? What drove the Puritans and other Christians that came before us, upon whom our great nation was built?