Saturday, June 5, 2010

What are we teaching our kids?

Ted's latest call was about how our kids have grown up. When I was a kid the neighborhood kids had chores, but when Ted was a kid, most kids actually went out and did jobs for neighbors. I remember one family who charged their kids board, so that the kids would understand that they had to pay their own way when they grew up.

I am sure that many of you have seen a paper boy or remember that newspapers used to be delivered by kids. When it became an adult with a pick-up truck delivering your daily news is when the world changed.

Now it is the computer that delivers your daily news, and some of the newspapers you find on line aren't even really newspapers at all! I have to say the Associated Press should be having a field day! Everyone is a reporter now!

Even I am a reporter and so are you. We see the news in our feeds, and the news is heard round the world in dozens of languages, almost as quickly as it happens.

Ted talked about how as kids we would play a game in school, it was called "Party Line" or "Telephone" and probably had other names as well. The teacher would whisper something in the ear of the first student at one end of the class, and each student would repeat to the next. By the time the story reached the last student, it no longer resembled what the teacher had said. Raising our kids has somehow started to look like that. We had parents who taught us the value of honest hard work, and then we forgot how to teach our kids.

When your children leave home, are they as prepared as you were? Have your children been taught the value of a dollar by hard work? Or have they been given everything they got? When your child graduates from High School, will that child get a job and rent an apartment that is within their means? Or will they take out loans to go to college and then never repay the loans, filing bankruptcy on them because they thought they could pay... 

The economy is bad enough as it is, but how much of that "bad economy" is due to the fact that people lived way beyond their means. The only thing that keeps the economy going is if people are spending money. Well, if the people don't have money to spend, what then? The banks decided to extend people credit that would have been unheard of twenty years ago! Who in their right mind would think that a family of four with a gross income of $80,000.00 per year for two incomes, could afford a $500,000.00 home?

Who in their right mind would ever think that a 2 BR 1 Bath home was worth $225,000.00? But that is what happened a few years ago down here in Florida. It got so bad that working class families could not afford to rent or buy, and were going to leave the state en masse.

The banking institutions offered all sorts of deals so that the working class could afford to live here. I personally told people not to buy, but who is going to listen? They thought people were getting rich off of house flipping and they would do it too. My landlord raised my rent so high I had to take roommates, and eventually so high I had to move...

The bottom has fallen out of that and now everyone points a finger here or there... Really? Think about it... What was the problem with that picture? Just because the tag on the house was $225,000.00, did not mean that was what the house was worth.

The house you live in is worth what you are willing to pay for it, end of story, and not one penny more. Is it worth losing everything for? We all know people who got destroyed by these banks, but were those people educated? Did they know you don't get something for nothing? I have to admit, from my end, it looked like younger people getting caught up in the problem for the most part, and some few who were my age that thought their ship finally came in.

Many who were affected by this crunch were not taught the value of hard work, because they saw easy money being made all around them. Many of the people who lost money in the stock market over the last fifteen years lost it because they didn't know they could lose.

Make sure that you teach your children that nothing comes easy, and that people sometimes lose through no fault of their own. It is not a crime to fail or to lose. You must know that you are not alone, and teach your children so that it doesn't happen to them. There have been plenty of boom times, and they are always followed by recessions. Teach your children the history of the economy, teach them that the dollar has never been stable, and teach them that what you own is not a mark of your worth.

So, what do you think? What can you add to our debate? What are we teaching our kids, and what should we be teaching them?


  1. One of the big things we are working with our kids on right not is to take responsibility for their actions:

    You are in control of what you do. No one 'made you mad'. They do not have control over your emotions, you do. Sure, what they said or did may be upsetting to you, but how you handle it is up to you. And remember, there are consequences--either positive or negative, for everything you do.

    I was not raised this way, and it is a hard lesson for me to learn too. Sometimes I want to blame others for how I feel, but in the end, it is my choice.

  2. Absolutely have to agree with you that we must teach our children to take responsibility for their actions and reactions! I love it when people say someone "Made them mad, or angry." It reminds me of the old Flip Wilson character Geraldine: she always said: "The Devil made me do it!" I think you have hit the nail on the head Ivy! We all too often blame others for our feelings and actions when in reality we had a choice. We decide how to react. Very good point! I will talk to Ted, as we were discussing that violence is a learned reaction. Some people think we learn it from TV, but in reality, TV just reinforces the actions we have already learned are right or wrong.