Faiths usually offer parents very clear direction on child-rearing. Premarital sex, for instance? That's pretty much a no-no, no matter what deity you worship. Dietary rules can also be pretty straightforward -- no pork for Muslims and Jews, no beef for Hindus.
But when it comes to money, the picture is cloudier. What does the Bible or the Koran actually say about money? Does God want us to own a fleet of yachts? Or does he (or she) think suffering and hardship is noble? Does God want your kid to be rich?
Happily, the consensus among most religious leaders seems to be that the Almighty does not want you to live off food stamps and is quite happy for you to drive a Porsche. But Scriptures say that a portion of your earnings should be returned through gifts to charity and offerings to the church -- what some denominations call tithing.
Cantor Erik L. Contzius, of Temple Israel in New Rochelle, N.Y., is trying to instill these lessons in his 6-year-old son. Whenever the boy goes to Hebrew school, Contzius hands him a dollar to put in the tzedakah box for charity. Thou shalt not hoard your money
"If we teach it at a very young age to give, hopefully it will stick," Contzius says.
Carolyn Castleberry, a writer in Virginia Beach, Va., talks about this idea in her series of financial-empowerment books for women, based on Biblical principles.
"Proverbs 31 has been held up as a standard," says Castleberry, a mother of two who also writes a newsletter called "The Proverbs 31 Investor." The Old Testament passage -- which describes a virtuous woman as having a price "above rubies" -- is "about a woman who is a businessperson, a wife, she has a family, but she became an investor," Castleberry explains. What the Bible teaches
"She knew how to create passive income, she was a real-estate investor -- so she was providing for her family and also for generations, so she's a role model."
According to Castleberry, the Bible addresses the topic of money more than any other issue -- more than 2,000 passages discuss it. The No. 1 rule? "To tithe or give back," she says, quoting Malachi 3:10: "Bring to me the first of your possessions and I'll open up the skies of heaven."
The Bible also admonishes us to be good stewards of money (although here Christianity and Judaism differ from Islam, which forbids interest accrual).
A parable from Matthew discusses a boss who gave his three employees a certain amount of money.