I Am Not Wasting My Money

When my children started school, the school had a system of tuck-shop treats twice per week. This consisted of a food, a cordial drink and a treat. The offering was not nearly as appealing as the school lunches made by my wife. This fact notwithstanding, one of my boys used to insist that he got the whole menu on tuck-shop days.

I was lying at the swimming pool on holiday that year, when the boys approached my like representatives of a committee that had just left a meeting. They asked my if instead of us giving them money for tuck-shop, they could get pocket money over which they could have control.

I was impressed and immediately agreed, perceiving the potential in this system to teach them some money skills, including setting some aside for charity, which I hold as an important value.

When they returned to school, the first tuck-shop day arrived and my son who had formally required the whole menu, asked his mother for school lunch.

I reminded him that he had pocket money for school lunch. His retort was “I am not wasting my money on that food!”

After food, money is the most enduring constant companion and most intimate partner in life more than ones spouse. It mirrors ones relationship with oneself and also profoundly influences ones relationship with oneself. It taps into our deepest and most primal emotions.

For these reasons it is surely of paramount importance that we teach children how to have a constructive healthy attitude towards money.

Through money we take care of our own immediate survival needs, conserve our resources for the future and transact with others in ways that ensure and take care of their survival. Through money we can learn how to love and how to deal honestly and fairly with others, building trust as we transact through the give and take of human interaction and trade.

It is through money that we can experience our power to give, to constructively affect others. It is a wonderful lesson to show children how an unexpected ten or twenty rands to a beggar, newspaper sales person, toll road or parking attendant can change someone’s day, build bridges and put more warmth and blessing into the world.

Children need to learn that money is ultimately a tool. To get the best out of money requires deep ingrained understanding that firstly it is just a tool, and secondly that its purpose is to give life through providing the essentials for survival and to enhance life by giving us the power to give life to others by assisting them to earn or acquire money.

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