The winter of 1970 in Ithaca, N.Y. provided perfect conditions for bombing around on our now vintage-looking Fox Trac snowmobile. Thus, the 11-year-old competent, confident, and cute commander of this carriage needed the proper winter attire. So my mom (riding in the cart with my brother) and I went shopping for a “snowsuit.” Much to my dismay, we found one. Yes, the hideous thing you see me wearing in the picture.
Really, Mom!? Neon yellow!? Can’t I get one in a man’s color like black, Navy blue, or rich chocolate brown!?
All my pleading for anything-but-yellow fell on deaf—but wise—ears. We came home with my new “banana suit” and, like it was yesterday, I remember why Mom chose it (and, no, it wasn’t so she could find me in a snowstorm!):
It was on sale.
Said another way, Mary Miller spent hard-earned income on that suit because Mary Miller could afford that suit. How retro.
You see …
I didn’t “deserve” the color of my choice, nor was I entitled to an “upgrade” the next season. I wore the neon yellow banana snowsuit till I outgrew it.
In Parenting the QBQ Way, my wife, co-author, and money management partner, Karen, and I ask the reader, do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
- Every child on an athletic team should receive a trophy.
- Children must have the newest version of all things electronic.
- Thirteen-year-olds deserve limos for their birthday parties.
- Cell phones are not a privilege, they are a right.
- Driving is not a privilege, it is a right.
After reading the above we suspect most parents would respond with, “Right! I don’t agree at all!” Excellent. But accountable parents should also ponder these five introspective questions:
“Am I instilling thoughts and beliefs like these into my child?”
“Have I created kids who suffer from unhealthy entitlement thinking?”
“In what ways have I become entitled and am modeling it for my child?”
“Have I bought into the ‘I deserve an upgrade’ lie?”
“In any way have I fallen into the trap of buying it now even though I don’t have the money now?”
(Jump to this piece to see the money traps Karen and I fell into “back in the day”: Personal Accountability and Money)
Forty-four years ago, my mom modeled sound money-handling practices for me when she bought that totally-functional-truly-kept-me-warm-and-dry-awful-color suit. By no means was it groovy, but it got the job done. One more time: It got the job done. And by purchasing it, she got her financial management job done—while teaching her “tween” (long before anyone knew tweens existed!) an invaluable lesson:
I am not entitled to everything I want.
Now that was a lesson worth learning!
Lastly, here are ten more money lessons moms and dads can teach their children—and practice themselves, too! Parenting the QBQ Way—the Financial Piece.