Presumably money is something that runs the world. It is a given that money helps us fullfil all our dreams and material wishes in one way or the other. It is an essential component for the recipe to work well.
During my younger days, I had this fascination to save money and deposit it in the bank to see my savings account balance grow. A Monthly visit to the bank close to my house was a must. During those good old days a deposit of Rs.50 by a teenager was a big deal.
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During festivities like Diwali and maybe a visit to my grandparent’s place, there would be added bonuses for a kid of my age. Honestly, a sum of Rs.200 would sound so paltry in the present times, but a similar sum during our younger days would make us feel like millionaires. Our expenses would boil down to a random comic like Tinkle which would cost us 3 bucks, a big bar of Dairy Milk was available for 20 bucks and buying bubble gums (as we called them in those days) .
Buying Magazines like sportstar to catch a glimpse of our favourite sports star and to play a game of cricket with our besties, whenever time would permit, was always on the top of our mind . Another memory of carefully spending our hard saved money on buying stuff for your favourite game of cricket or probably nag your dad to buy you the latest hand held game like Donkey Kong etc. Nostalgic as it may sound, I feel we were a happy lot contended with what we had.
A couple of decades later, I find myself in a contrasting scenario. Where “living life to the fullest” is the new norm by buying things we don’t need, only to keep up with peer pressure and new normal laid down by the today’s society. Saving is cliche, not particularly popular among the new gen.
Well, kids are reflection of their parents’ behaviour and attitude. Overload of pampering due to lack of dedicated time has made things so easy for the kids to get their wishes fulfilled. “NO” used to be the final word for us when it came from our parents when we demanded something unnecessary. But try using that two letter word on your child and you stand a risk of being labeled as a miser. Well, who would like to be called that? Expecting children to value money would be far fetched if they get what they need/want/wish with such ease.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. So, a few months back, I tried this simple experiment on my kids. I told them that from the following month they would be getting a pocket money of 200 bucks per month. They both were super excited to hear that, but what followed was what they weren’t prepared for. I told them that they were to buy all that they wanted from their pocket money, irrespective of a fancy or an ordinary thing.
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A couple of months passed by and one fine day we visited the super market to buy some household stuff. The usual drill during such visits used to be a tug of war between my kids and my wife. They would have the cart loaded with what they fancied and my wife would have a tough time trying to convince them that it was such a waste of money. But the scene that day was surprisingly calm to say the least. I asked my wife in a whisper, “What happened to the kids?” She said, before coming here she warned the children that whatever they pick up today would be paid from their pocket money.
This exercise reiterated my faith in my belief that most of what kids learn today come from their parents, be it to value money or practice saving. But a simple question we need to ask ourselves, have we done enough here? If not, then why blame them for what they haven’t been taught.
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