Have you wondered why don’t children get it these days ? A toy breaks and they want it replaced. They don’t like a food, they push the plate away. Clothes are worn for a few hours and thrown into the laundry. Pencils are lying around like they were at a conference. Blank pages in notebooks left at the end of the year, stacked in the garage. They use the phrase “I lost it” without any guilt. There are many such examples I see in my house and around.
The most difficult question I am trying to find the answer for is “how to teach children the value of money?”
My generation and every generation prior to mine lived in the scarcity of material objects. Everything was precious, whether it was food. A phone call, clothes, stationery, toys… everything. If we lost a lunchbox we really felt bad, we were taught to use every paper, made to feel the pain of trees that were cut to make paper, food was not to be wasted, toys were meant to be taken care of and a thousand other things. All credit goes to our parents for teaching us the value of money. There were no lessons, no textbook that differentiated between this and that, but still they knew. They were also first time parents just like us.
There were other things of moral value like being honest, respect for elders, offering a seat to an elderly person, talking respectfully, understanding important values like integrity, self confidence etc. By just living their life openly in front of eyes they displayed the values we have at least partially imbibed.
So what happened to our generation. Why is it that we are passing only a negligible amount to our children? Or why does it seem like a daunting task when it seemed so simple for our parents. Why do we have to watch every word and action of ours and our children to make sure we are in line?
After much thought, my direction of thought leads to a few reasons –
1. Abundance of resources – everything around children today are in abundance. Our education leads us to think will restricting of abundance lead to restricting their freedom?
2. Lack of seeing respect for elders on a day to day basis – we grew up with our grandparents residing with us. Our children see their grandparents maybe once a year. Unless they see us taking care of our parents how will they carry on that important value?
3. The tsunami of technology in their lives – there is less reason for them to talk to their parents, they have google for everything they need to know. There are these coloruful bots on their laps that have left the streets empty.
I guess all of this makes us twice as alert than needed to bring up children. There is always a question am I doing the right thing? Did our parents have this question? I don’t know, maybe they did too, but it seems that parenting was seamless for them. I always wonder “how did they do it?”…
I feel sad thinking that with our generation the link is probably breaking. There are many families living near their siblings and parents where the link is strong, but I really wonder how many of the future generations will carry the strength of family relationships.
The weakening of the link between generations is more obvious to families living away from home turf. When there are no elders we tend to compromise on essential daily habits like eating together, talking to each other instead dig our faces in social devils on our smartphone. Have these platforms really brought the world closer or secluded each individual in their cubicles?
I always think, if I turn out to be half as good as my parents were, maybe my children will get a quarter of it. I just hope they get it 🙂…
One thought on “Why don’t children get it?”
You cover two subject in the article. Waste of resources and lack of respect for our elders.
I’d agree, it is in the abundance things are taken for granted. In general terms, I speak from a U.S. citizen perspective, many items are inexpensive in the relative of our income. Unused, sheets of paper discarded – pennies of cost in a world of $800 Smartphones. My experience is they’ll “kind of” follow our lead, meaning if we really fret of the wasted resources, they’ll kind of fret, between eye rolls.
The other side, in larger things, like cell phones. My kids are at the age where a cell phone is a necessity for safety and a Smartphone is a true benefit. In 5th grade their friends were walking around with $300 and $400 Smartphones and yes they are taken for granted by their friends. My kids were issued a loaner phone, usually a dumb phone, to their embarrassment. But, if they needed to make a call, it could be done. On proving their responsibility, not losing it, they may get upgrade to a rather tepid Smartphone (think $80 phone). Anything valued more than that, they had to buy the phone with their own earned money. Earned money and purchasing items others take for granted teaches a lot about the value of money and resources.
Respect for Elders
What can I say on this one. Yes, the separation of our children from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and great uncles does impact that bond of respect. I’d argue the U.S. culture has in large part tossed it out. Watch a popular modern TV show and then watch a classic. What a difference! Despite denial, we all know that what our kids see and hear influences them. Violence on television and Internet begets an inclination of violence in life. Disrespect for parents and elders in the media begets it in real life.