As parents, our basic job is to give our children the tools they need to become productive members of society. Throw healthy and happy into the end result and it could be reasonably said that it was a job well done. We want our kids to live the bright futures they deserve.
When we break that goal down, the bottom line is self-sufficiency- a term that has a lot of bandwidth. It includes all sorts of things like being able to do your own laundry and cook a reasonably healthy meal. The ability to earn at least a living wage. In general, it covers being able acquire and apply the goods and services you need to survive.
Whether we like it or not, money is pretty prominent to self-sufficiency. We need quarters for that laundry. We need to purchase the fruits and veggies that go into the healthy meal. Skill sets need to be learned to acquire a job that compensates at a living wage. The ability to earn and spend money sensibly is at the core of self-sufficiency.
But the actual money isn’t all of it. How we relate to it is equally as important as how we use it.
Money is not who we are. Really, it represents something external to us but something that has a huge effect on our abilities to live as our truest, happiest and healthiest selves. But this message can get lost.
We work to provide housing, food, tuition, toys, vacation, cars, clothes and the all the accompaniments that go along with providing for our little future citizens. Every family has a different way of living and acquiring those things. Some go to the laundromat, others have energy efficient washers in their homes, and others have a dry cleaning bill. Some of us grow our own food, others go food shopping every week, and some have a personal chef.
However we live, each of the decisions are made around how we handle our money. How we feel about it goes into each of those decisions- do we save, do we spend, do we invest? Do we work around the clock to have it? Do we argue about it? Are we happier with it than without?
As we raise our little beings in the Northwest of Philly, I remind us to be cognizant of the whole package. These are the lessons we teaching our kids, and they will shape their spending and affect their self-sufficiency down the line.
How do you teach children about the importance of managing money without allowing it to take on too much importance in your lives?
Northwest Philly Parents is a partnership between Newsworks and Germantown Avenue Parents.