Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stand Strong

On the path we are traveling to teach our children (this generation) to be smart with money, we must be relentless. When your friend tells you to "lighten up" and "just let them be kids," stand strong and tell them that amassing an army of toys is not being a kid. Turning a discarded box into a home for your dolls - that's being a kid.

When you feel guilty that you gauged the success of your birthday or the holidays by the volume of the haul (yep, that would be me too), stand stand strong and realize that you were enlightened by going down that path. You know that going down that road is like playing an unwinnable game. If you don't want to shower your child with gifts (from you or anyone else), don't let it happen. I know it's not easy, but it's your choice. Stand strong.

And when you see a behavior that you don't like, help them to change it. If you think YOU might be the cause of the behavior, stand strong and work it out together. I remember when my daughter first used an unacceptable word (I'll admit that I felt a pang of pride that she used it in context...but that's not the point). It was obvious to my wife and I that she had learned it, surprise, from us. So, in order to avoid looking like hypocrites, we decided that anyone (mom, dad, her) who used that word would be sent to time out. Our method worked (it's nice when ONE of your method's works). If you think your behaviors might be negatively influencing your kids, change them.

A root cause of this country's current financial crisis is lack of education. It's time to teach our kids to be money smart. The premise is simple - save, share and spend SMART. Because the pressure to simply spend is so great, though, the execution is difficult. We're in this together. Stand strong and believe that we can help our kids.

2 comments:

Lilly Lodge said...

Right on, John. Here's another idea to help keep "things" in perspective. Our older son is three years older than his brother, and four, than his sister. They all had great toys, but sometimes it seemed like too many. So we recycled. When some toys weren't played with that much, or our older boys "outgrew" some, they would "disappear" for a while. Sometimes it would be six months, sometimes, longer. We'd keep moving toys and games in and out of use, and as toys were outgrown, they were shared with other, less fortunate children. Our kids kept things in perspective, and learned early on about giving items in good condition to others who would appreiate them rather than just throwing the toys away. Those toys went to new homes and new owners.

For more ideas about teaching kids about responsibility and money as they grow up, check out my e-book, "How To Teach Kids About Money" at www.LiveInTheSeason.com.

Great job, John.----Lilly Lodge

John said...

Thanks for your comment Lilly. I'd also add that we also have a rule that for every new toy that comes in, at least one old toy must go to charity. Granted, we don't ALWAYS adhere to the rule, but it's a good way to keep kids from accumulating too many things. And it keeps us sane.