Are we encouraging greed & laziness in children?

October 29th, 2007

When I was growing up, I was told that if I wanted something, I would have to work for it. I started babysitting (at $1/hr.) at an early age. I started working for my Mom’s company at age 12 (with special permission and for limited hours). After that, I started buying my own clothes. I bought my own bed and my own stereo. I never had a car because I couldn’t afford one on my own. I gave 1/2 of my wages to my Mom to help support our family. That was expected and never questionned.

Although my husband and I were young when we got married, we paid for everything ourselves. We bought our first car just after we were married and drove it for 12 yrs. We have always used credit cards for “emergencies” and have been mindful of what we buy. Needless to say, we realize that if you want something, you need to WORK FOR IT.

Yesterday, my son went over to a neighbors house to play. The mom came outside and told him and her son that if they raked leaves in the front yard, she would give them $2 each. My son thought it was a great idea (a chance to earn money-Woohoo!), her son looked at her and said: “Just $2? No way! If you say $10, I’ll do it.” To which my son replied: “You should be happy with $2. My mom would’ve said it was a home chore and not paid me at all.”

That got me to thinking, are we (American parents) encouraging our children to be greedy and expect the world to “give me everything I desire”? Are we saying to our children that hard work isn’t necessary unless it is backed with cash? Will these children expect a 6-figure job right out of college? Will these children be crushed when they realize that there are 50 other applicants for the job that THEY want? Will these children come back home to Mom and Dad and say: “Why won’t the world give me everything like you did?” I wonder.

I may be old fashioned in believing in the saying: “What goes around, comes around.” I think this goes for a positive attitude, hard work, honesty, and integrity. Are parents teaching those nowadays? Are parents trying to be “friends” and forgetting that what children need is a role model? When you see children mindlessly grabbing items in a store and expecting the parent to buy (which they do because they don’t want to make a scene), what are they saying to their kids? How about: “Ask and you shall receive – no matter the cost.”

My son wound up raking the neighbor’s yard – alone. He was thrilled to show us that he made $2 on his own. No, $2 isn’t much by today’s standards, but he was appreciative and proud of his accomplishments. No one gave him $2. He earned it. He was proud and paid for his hard work. After lessons today, he got a bucket and started picking up pecans in our yard. He plans on washing, bagging, and selling them to buy Christmas presents. With hard work, comes great rewards. THAT is what we should be teaching the next generation. Not buying them $200 tennis shoes or the newest video game because they are whining for it.

If parents wonder why their young, adult children aren’t happy…they need to look at how they raised them. Sometimes, not having “everything their hearts desire” is a good thing.

One Response to “Are we encouraging greed & laziness in children?”

  1. Renae Says:

    This is so true. If our children don’t know the value of a dollar, it is because we haven’t taught it to them.

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