2017 Kids' Contest Winners

Kids answer "What is your enough?"

At Thrivent, we believe that knowing yourself is critical to being wise with money and living a more generous and fulfilling life. In our sixth annual Thrivent magazine Kids' Contest, we asked parents to ask their kids "What does having enough mean to you?" We hoped it would create some good conversations – and maybe even some teaching moments – between parents and their children. Without question, it did!

Nearly 100 kids from preschool to high school shared their thoughts on the topic in the form of drawings, essays and videos. While their answers were diverse, it was evident that each of them has a strong sense of self and what they value. They also have insight into the kind of impact they want to make in their world.

You can see the winning entries here. As always, this is original content, complete with grammar and spelling slipups. Enjoy!

  • Pre-K/Kindergarten

    Drawing: God's BlessingsBernie's Take On Money! (Link opens in new window)

    Bridger E., 5 | Nacogdoches, Texas

    Bridger told his mom he had enough from God because he had a home, family and God, all of which are important and blessings to him.

    Harriet's How-To's With Money (Link opens in new window) Drawing: Brielle's Enough

    Brielle R., 4 | Wittenberg, Wisconsin

    Brielle drew her heart and what makes her happy and content with what she has.

    Essay: Enough Clothes

    Hannah M., 5 │ State College, Pennsylvania

    I red a book kald a Bad Case of the STRIPES. A girl in it tried on 42 owtfits in one day. That is tow moch. Sevine owtfits in a week and a par of pajamis and a nis dress for Sunday is anof because ther are sevine days in a week and mom does lodree onse a week. I am tankfl because Jesus gav us clows.

    Essay: The Right Amount

    Ryan S., 4 | Spring, Texas

    (As recited to his mom!) Enough means that you have the right amount of things – not too much but just right. I have enough toy cars and enough clothes, food, water, and milk. We need food, but we want toys. We need water, milk, paper, magnets, and flowers. I like to have Lego sets and a dump truck from Toys 'R' Us.

    When you have too many things and you want more, your mom and dad might say no because you already have enough. When you have a little amount of things and need more, then you don't have enough. I only have one piece of money, so I don't have enough to buy any Lego sets.

    God makes all the things. He wants us to have enough food. He wants you to have food for how hungry you are. I can give some of my things to someone else that doesn't have enough.

  • Grades 1 – 3

    The Piggy Bank (Link opens in new window) Drawing: Enough

    Leah E., 8 | Omaha, Nebraska

    Enough is when you have everything you need, which turns out to be not that much.

    Drawing: Braelyn's Enough Save for Your Dreams (Link opens in new window)

    Braelyn R., 8 | Wittenberg, Wisconsin

    She drew a man with a cart of things, but it is not enough. He is already dreaming of more money and vacations. The other side shows a family who is praying and happy their treasure is stored in Heaven and not on earth.

    Essay: I Have Love

    Brynn R., 8 │ Bel Air, Maryland

    Having enough to me means being loved. I feel love when my friends and family make time for me, when we play together or celebrate holidays, or read together. When I am with my family I don't worry at all like if I was alone. That's why I know I have love. I also feel love when I'm at church because when I go to church I know there are many people there that know me and make me feel happy. I know that Jesus loves me too and is with me every day. If I didn't have love I would be sad and lonely. Sometimes I think I don't have enough toys or things, but I know I really don't need them as much as love. I feel like I have enough because I am happy and I know I am loved.

    Essay: Friends and Family Means Enough

    Kasen A., 8 | Jackson, Missouri

    Having enough means family and friends, not gold and riches. I have a lot of family members by my side, and that is what means enough to me. They always come to my birthday and on holidays too. Having enough means having a home. Not toys, not games, but a home. Having enough means having friendship and compassion. My twin brother is my best friend, and I would really miss him if he wasn't here. Every year we go to help a Thrivent group pack food for Feed My Starving Children, and it makes me feel good to help others have enough food too. Having family, home, and friendship means everything to me, and I hope you think this too.

    Don't look at who you are outside but look at your heart. Don't judge a person by their outside. Judge them by their inside. Someone might not have enough money to afford nice clothes, but they might be very talented. My great grandma doesn't dress fancy, but she can quilt really well. Her talent is enough. The outside isn't important. It's your heart that should be deciding what is enough, not your outside.

    Money is not important, but my friends and family are.

    Money Management Tips (Link opens in new window)Video: Elizabeth's video

    Elizabeth F., 7 | Gonvick, Minnesota

    Elizabeth explains how some kids are not as fortunate as she is.

    Video: Enough-o-MeterMoney Management Tips (Link opens in new window)

    Ian S., 7 | Spring, Texas

    Ian created an "Enough-o-Meter" that he could use to "scan" various items to find out if they were not enough, too much or just right. In the end, he summarizes all that is needed to have enough.

  • Grades 4 – 6

    Needs before Wants (Link opens in new window)Drawing: Family Love is Enough

    Zach Y., 11 | Monticello, Iowa

    No matter your situation in life, as long as you have love, it's enough.

    Drawing: Do Not Be AnxiousSave Your $$ (Link opens in new window)

    Nina N., 10 | Eden Prairie, Minnesota

    Our good Lord provides according to His gracious will, shown in Matthew 6: 26.

    Essay: What Having Enough Means to Me

    Miranda L., 12 | Lititz, Pennsylvania

    The first few months of my life were spent in an orphanage in Hunan, China, where there was never enough of anything for the children who lived there. The nannies tried their best, but since they were responsible for ten or more babies at a time it was impossible for them to meet each child's needs. I don't remember being hungry or crying and no one coming to comfort me, but I'm sure that happened on many occasions based on what I saw when I visited my sister's orphanage several years later when my mother and I traveled to China to adopt her. The room where my sister lived was huge. There were at least thirty small beds against one wall, and around twenty metal cribs clustered together in the middle of the room. When we visited the children were sitting around a large table quietly playing with blocks. I did not see any other toys in the room. When we handed out lollipops to the children they were as excited as a child opening a gift on Christmas morning.

    Since then my sister and I have learned what it means to have enough. Enough is having a mother who loves me and comforts me when I'm sad. Enough is knowing I will never go to bed hungry. Enough is being confident my mother is saving money for college so that I will have a successful future.

    Sure, when I see my friends with some new gadget in hand I get a little jealous, but when I think about what's really important I already have everything I need.

    Essay: What Having Enough Means to Me

    Gloria P., 11 | Mascoutah, Illinois

    Money. Fame. Candy. Can there ever be enough? Here is a story of a man who learned what was enough.

    Henry was a rich man. He had many servants and fancy, expensive, luxurious possessions. The only problem was that he never seemed to have enough. He was always going to auctions to find more things. One evening before Christmas, as he was struggling homeward with a new purchase, he peeped in a minuscule cottage and saw a family huddled around the table eating a dinner of bread and butter. Henry couldn't sleep that night. The next morning he got up and piled money, candles, blankets, wood, and food into a sack. He hurried back to the cottage. A woman holding a baby came to the door. Henry handed her the bag and said, "I hope this will make your Christmas merry."

    "Thank you!" exclaimed the woman.

    "It was nothing." Henry replied. "Now I must go. I have work to do."

    Indeed Henry did have work to do. He had enjoyed giving so much that he decided to give something to every poor family in the neighborhood.

    By the time Henry had finished giving things away, he realized he had very little left. He moved to a small house and found jobs for his servants. He found life much better than previously. He enjoyed siting in front of his fire, reading the Bible, and inviting friends over occasionally. He found great joy in his life and felt very satisfied.

    We often tend to want more- especially when we already have so much that we hardly have room for it. We need to seek God, and then we will become satisfied, knowing that God will provide for us and will never forget us.

    (Link opens in new window)Video: Is It Enough?

    Isaac N., 11 | Rochester, Minnesota

    What does the Bible say about having enough? Let's take a look to see how God wants us to have enough.

    Video: You Have to Ask (Link opens in new window)

    Lily C., 11 | Albuquerque, New Mexico

    This is the story of how Lily knew what satisfaction felt like in a fairly short stop-motion video using her dolls to act it out.

  • Grades 7 – 9

    Tithe, Save, Spend (Link opens in new window) Drawing: Things You Need In Your Life

    Malisa L. | 14, Kapolei, Hawaii

    My artwork shows different things that are needed in our lives. Having enough to me means that I have enough money for food, water, clothes, education, a house, transportation and electricity. We all should learn how to spend our money wisely and save up for important things that are needed in life, like college. It is very important to have enough resources for you and your whole family. Having enough can help and support me on having a bright future.

    Grand Prize Winner
    Drawing: More Than Enough Make Money Thrive (Link opens in new window)

    Julia S., 14 | Kapolei, Hawaii

    Having transportation, shelter, clothes, savings, food and water, love and support, faith is more than enough.

    Essay: What Does Having Enough Mean to Me?

    Ellie E., 15 | Gilbert, Arizona

    What does having enough mean to you? To me having enough means having what you need, trusting God and putting my happiness in Him. At my school, my 8th grade class has been going through a financial book by Dave Ramsey. It talks about saving your money and budgeting. God has given us what we need. Philippians 4:19 says "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." The money we have is not ours; it is God's. We are just the keepers of it. Tithing is a very important part of the Christian life. When you are looking at how much you are going to tithe that week or month, it is important to not base your tithe on how much money you have after fun expenses. Tithing should come first. Tithing is a way that we as Christians show that we trust God, it shows that we trust Him to provide for what we need. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless." We as humans want to be happy. We think money makes us happy. We think once I reach this amount I will be happy but then it never satisfies you. Hebrews 13:5 states "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Where will you place your joy? Will you choose money or God? Will God satisfy your needs? Will you be happy in him? Or will you put your happiness in money? I leave you with Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart is also."

    Essay: God Has Given Me More than Enough

    Aaron R., 13 | Orlando, Florida

    For me, having enough means that God has given me what I need to carry out His work here on Earth. This is not only shown to me through the material wealth that He has blessed my family with, but also the rich blessing of friend, family and church community He has given me. God has given me more than enough to share what I have with others. It is that fact that makes me want to give back to the less fortunate.

    The Bible says that we should give the Lord a tithe of our income. A tithe is ten percent of our income. But, our tithe should be more that just ten percent of our income. It should be ten percent of all we have including our time and talents. It is because of God's grace and mercy that we have our worldly possessions. Therefore, God's kingdom really deserves the best of all that we have to offer. This idea is demonstrated by the story of the widow's mite.

    In the story of the widow's mite, the rich are giving great gifts to the temple offering. When the poor widow gives all that she has, which is just two small copper coins into the offering plate, Jesus notices the dedication of the widow. This story should apply to our lives. We are all blessed with having an abundance of worldly possessions and we are called to give out of that abundance all that we have. The Bible says, "'Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all'" (Luke 21:3). We are called to give as the widow gave, with abundance and with the heart of a servant.

    Spending Wisely on Wants and Needs (Link opens in new window)Grand Prize Winner
    Video: How Much is Enough?

    Anna R., 13 | Bemidji, Minnesota

    Anna uses scripture, photos and illustration to answer the question of "how much is enough?"

    Video: Will It Fill It? Spending Wisely on Wants and Needs (Link opens in new window)

    Hope N., 12 | Rochester, Minnesota

    In this video, we investigate whether worldly items will be big enough to fill our God-shaped hole. Will the things of this world fill it?

  • Grades 10 – 12

    Flammable Money (Link opens in new window)Drawing: Be Joyful Always

    Emma P., 18 | Hamilton, Texas

    Luke 12:24 says "Consider the ravens: they neither sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" In today's society we are always wanting "more," and it's important that we understand that having enough does not mean having riches or possessions. Having enough means you have a strong base in God, and faith that He will provide for your needs. I finger painted this picture to show the joy people can have when their joy comes through faith, family and friendships not worldly possessions.

    Drawing: Sufficiency Be Wise with Your Money (Link opens in new window)

    Juliana S., 16 | West Sacramento, California

    In today's society, people believe that the more "stuff" they have and the bigger their house, the happier they will be. The irony is that materialism never brings the joy each person really longs for. Then what is enough? It is Jesus who supplies happiness and health and everything that we need. Our wants will never be adequate, it is what we truly need and the wonderful people that surround us that will always be sufficient.

    Essay: The Meaning of Enough

    Reagan N., 16 | Enterprise, Alabama

    What is "enough"? Human nature over the centuries has shown that there is no definitive threshold for what is "enough". From the very beginning, there has been skirmish after skirmish, fight after fight, war after war for whatever is sought for as being the key to having "enough" whether that key is land, resources, or people. For people to then have to define a word that is so fluid in meaning is near impossible. "Enough", for me, is a standard that is not attainable on this Earth. I know that no matter how much I obtain, it will never be enough to satisfy my flesh; I also know that I will never stop hungering for more of God, Christ, and the Spirit until the day I see Him face to face in His Kingdom. As nothing but the Spirit of God can placate the desires of the flesh, only God's Spirit is "enough", but the human soul longs for God so much that there can be no "enough" of Him until joining Him in Heaven or Christ's second coming. As human beings, we try to assign meaning and values to things that we have no control over; "enough" is one of those things. We try to tell ourselves that we have "enough" as long as we have this or that, but that threshold changes with economic and social fluidity. There is no such thing on this Earth as "enough" as long as sin in this world is keeping human greed thriving and the full glory of God from making its presence known as it will when His Kingdom comes. "Enough", as it pertains to me, is a measure that is nonexistent on Earth and can only be truly be found in His Kingdom due to sin's presence on Earth.

    GRAND PRIZE WINNER
    Essay: Crayons with Points

    Jason S., 16 | Hillsborough, New Jersey

    As a 16-year-old, it is easy to get caught up in the hype about having lots of stuff. My high school is full of teenagers with expensive clothes, sneakers, cell phones and even cars! Don't get me wrong, that stuff might be fun, but it's not going to help you find happiness. I am blessed to have the life that I do; a loving family, nice home, friends, fun hobbies, and a long list of "stuff". But I do realize that the "stuff" is just that. Having enough involves the basic things that are essential such as the love of family, food, clothes, a safe school, my own bed, money so that I am able to give back, and faith in God who gave it all to me.

    At age 6, I learned that not every child has "enough" while attending an event at church to pack school supplies into backpacks to give to kids in need. Some homeless families were staying at church that week and their kids were invited to take a backpack. A little girl hugged the backpack and tearfully exclaimed, "Mommy, all these crayons have points!" Had she really never had new crayons before? It was hard for me to take this in. The following year my family volunteered to lead the backpack program. I have helped every summer for 10 years, am now a program leader and have helped fill over 2000 backpacks for children in need! This is my way of making sure that kids at least have "enough" when returning to school.

    That experience changed my life and my understanding of "having enough". I am lucky to have the life that I do and I will try to do for others so that they too can feel the comforts of God's grace.