I was about eight years old at the time and my mother’s birthday was coming around. She had recently taken my sister and I shopping with her at one of her favorite boutique stores that was not far from our neighborhood. She would once in a while stop in to visit the store owner, Carmella – I think that was her name – and look through any sale items.
When we walked in the store this time, my eyes were drawn to the dress in the window – the one on the mannequin. It was gorgeous. And I secretly wanted it for my mother. She deserved it. I checked the price tag on it and staggered back as it was a whopping $125. This was a lot of money for an eight-year-old to have back in 1991. Money I didn’t have no less.
I wasn’t afraid of not having the money. I always felt like if I wanted something bad enough, I’d work for it or raise that money somehow. It just didn’t seem like an illogical idea not to be able to afford something. Why wouldn’t I be able to afford it? As long as I worked for it, however long that would take, the money would eventually be there.
Even as a child, I understood value. I understood working hard for the things I wanted, no matter how long it would take to achieve that.
I remember going home that day and telling my father I needed to earn some money, so that I could buy my mom the best birthday present ever. He was eager to assist by allowing me to paint the fence in our front yard. He said he’d give me $40. I was stoked! I thought that was a lot of money! And it was! The fence was very intricate and made of wrought-iron, which my dad had made himself years before.
After I earned the $40, I asked my dad for more assignments, and he told me that $40 was more than enough to buy a birthday present for my mother. I told him how much the dress was, and he told me that was too much to spend on a gift.
I was so upset. I wanted the dress in the window for my mother, and I didn’t care how hard I needed to work to get it or how long it took.
Well, perhaps you’re wondering why I’m rambling on about this story. So, this brings me to my beef with today’s youth. Unfortunately, I don’t think today’s parents are teaching them the value of working hard for your money. Most parents buy whatever their child wants. As a parent, it’s so important to provide for your child’s needs, but for their ‘wants,’ it’s important to to let them learn how to earn their own money.
Parents are saving for their children’s college funds too, which is a nice and generous concept. However, my parents didn’t save for a college fund for me. I was very aware of this actually, and made sure I worked extra hard in school to have the best grades possible to get a scholarship to pay for my own college. I graduated as class Valedictorian, with the number 1 GPA ranking and earned a full scholarship to pay for my college. Not bad, huh? I did have to pay for books and supplies out of pocket though, so I got a part time job to cover those expenses.
Anyway, I’m just tired of seeing lazy kids, who are ungrateful, spoiled and unwilling to work to earn some money.
Are you willing to work harder to pay for the things you value? And is this a concept you are going to teach your children?