On the front page of Amazon I saw a list of items that said they were for “the child who had everything”. While there were some very interesting toys, I got to thinking about that designation. It definitely isn’t how I want my child described.
Every parent wants to give their kids nice things and most parents try to give their kids things that they didn’t have growing up. This isn’t always a good thing. I’m not saying it is a bad idea to help your kids obtain a better education than what you received, but when the only thing your kid doesn’t have is a $10,000 replica space suit you’ve got to question how well you are preparing them for the real world.
A lot of my views on money were shaped by the fact that my parents weren’t wealthy. In fact we were probably living below the poverty line (although we didn’t realize it). They provided everything we needed, but we didn’t even think about asking them to buy us “extras”. When I wanted a camera for a high school photography class, I worked and saved until I had the money to buy it. When I wanted a laptop I did the same thing. My parents taught me to focus on opportunity instead of lack.
Since most of the money I was spending was my own hard earned cash, I was much more careful about how it was spent. I still tend to do this today–sometimes to a fault. (How much time should you really spend trying to pick out the best $0.97 toothbrush?)
My parents provided the opportunity to work, so we could get the things we wanted. As soon as I was able to drive at 14, my brother and I started using family truck, lawnmower, and weed eater to earn money during the summers. We didn’t get paid for doing our own lawn–that was just part of being in the family. But there were always plenty of other people who needed their lawns mowed.
My parents provided us with the support and encouragement to work hard. No one would have described us as “kids who had everything”, but what my parents gave us was much more valuable.