Posts Tagged ‘values’

Parenting is hard – II

How do you teach kids the value of money, without always having to discuss money and in the process, coming across as money-minded?

This has happened a few times with A and an episode over the Thanksgiving weekend leads me to write this. PK has been looking for a LCD TV and he was going to stores/looking online a lot on Friday. At one point, A also got all excited about the TV. But the fact was we hadn’t bought one and towards evening he expressed complete frustration – almost as if “What is all the fuss about? why can’t you just pick one up?”. We were thinking more like, if we find a good deal we’ll buy one. So, when he acted up I tried to tell him in calm words what that much amount of money meant and since we don’t have an unlimited supply, it was all about choices of how we wanted to spend what we have. But I don’t think he still gets it.

After Halloween, I dropped off a huge bag of candy at this school’s candy drive. He asked what it meant and I explained. Then and one other occasion (someone approached us in a parking lot asking for cash to ride the train), I told him how we should be thankful for all the God has given us – a house to stay, plenty of food, clothes, toys etc … Then, at school last week, they had a discussion on Thanksgiving and did a round table with the kids, each saying what they were thankful for. I asked A what he had said and he goes “for having enough money”. I guess his teacher must think that he has very money-minded parents!

I don’t want to scare him with all the hardships in the world, but at the same time I don’t want him to think that we can afford anything, anytime (because we can’t!). In the summer, a teenager came by our door raising money for his local basketball team. He asked for $160 donation and said that in return he would pressure wash our windows. We thought why not help out a neighborhood kid and agreed. He left his number and said he lived on the next street and we should call him to setup a time for the washing. Few days later, the check had been cashed. PK tried calling that number several times and no one would answer. He drove around looking for the house number he had given and didn’t find such a number on that street. Obviously, we had been ripped, right at our door. PK and I were angrily discussing this and A asked what happened. I explained as calmly as I could what the boy had done. A thought for a minute and said, “That is ok, right? Anyway, we have more money”.

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