How Did I Get Here, And Where Is The Next Turn?

Greetings and salutations to all who deem this worthy of your time...

Brought up Aug 11, 2012

"Teach Your Children Well..."

We are finally having those marvelous mornings, cool beginnings for these still steamy days. They are those wonderful precursors of autumn, my favorite time of year. I love the colors and smells of fall, those cool nights when you don't yet turn on the heat, but do grab the comforter. It was the first morning in months I was able to have my breakfast by the river, one of my thinking spots. I sat, the windows down, watching the water making it lazy way south and around the river bend. Of course, my mind drifted to my least favorite topic that seems to rule my mind anyway these days: Money.

I always heard that money is the root of all evil. That is taken out of context so much. The Bible actually says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil..." 1 Timothy, 6:10. (yes, I looked it up, Punk.) Well, I will never be accused of loving money. I sometimes wish it had never been invented. I'd much rather barter.

One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to not teach their children to handle money wisely. You can talk until you are blue in the face, telling them what to do and not do with the ole green backs, but they learn from watching us more than from what we say. My kids have seen the family struggle, have come home to the power turned off, have shivered under blankets, and even have known that feeling of not quite as much to eat as they would have liked though not real hunger. It wasn't because of reckless spending, but more of just not having enough to stretch every way it was needed.

The thing is, my husband and I were never taught how to handle money. I'm sure we both got the whole song and dance about the dos and don'ts, but I know that I never paid attention. Money has never meant much to me but a means to an end. As a kid, I just remember resenting the fact that I wore my cousin's cast offs, couldn't do what others did, and rarely got anything 'cool.' Now, I realize that, though I may not have had what the other kids had, I never went hungry, or cold, and I had the things I needed even if it wasn't all the things I wanted. I didn't see how my mom and step father paid the bills, however. My step father was a real piece of work anyway. Some of my not having things were his way of making me see my 'inferiority,' being female and not his kid. My mom did the best she could under those circumstances.

I swore my children would have more, and they have, but not always what they wanted. It has been a real struggle for them to have what they needed, but I think, in the end, we did alright. With their dad on the road so much, we grew into a unit. we learned to take care of each other. In the most recent past, my kids have actually helped pay the bills. Though they are both in their 20s, they still more or less live at home, and help when needed, but not as much now with their dad finally getting the pay he has earned and deserved for all his years of experience on the road.

For years now, the kids have both worked when their friends were off doing things they would like to do. Both of them have bought, or are paying for their own cars. My son proudly displays a bumper sticker on the back windshield of the car he has built himself- "Not Sponsored By Mom and Dad." As he put it on Facebook recently, he has paid for every bolt, every piece of his car himself.

Maybe watching the struggles, and seeing that, in the end, things do finally work out has taught my kids a lot more than my talking about money could ever teach them. They have seen what can happen if there isn't much money or if it is handled foolishly. (Both have friends who spend money on things that are not only foolish, but harmful) They know money doesn't just fall into your hand when you wish for it. It is earned, and when used carefully, it is still only a means to obtaining what you need, and sometimes what you want. Most of all, they are both very generous with their time as well as their money. If anything, I am very proud of that. Now, if the boy will just back off trying to tell ME what to do, we'd get along just fine. After all, I don't tell him what to do with his money.

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