Each day I look outside my home-office window to see if there is any trash, trash from the kids who 30 minutes earlier in the morning stood around and waited for the school bus just outside my house. There are about three boys probably around 10 years old. Most days they don’t leave any trash on my lawn, but I have found wrappers, a bundle of sticks, construction flags and most recently soda cans. I go outside after work and find what they have left behind, picking up the mess as if they had never done anything at all. I have yet to catch any of the culprits but I can’t help but wonder what compels young kids to act this way? Sure, they are young and probably don’t understand the value of working hard and taking care of the things bought with their hard-earned money, but I start to wonder what other lessons are not being taught at such a young age?
When I was younger I was taught to never litter, especially when no one else was around. I was also taught to save my money and work hard, other valuable lessons.
My parents taught me through their actions as is the case with every kid. I’m glad they taught me how to be a functioning member of society. Manners are great, but the more I realize as an adult is I wish I was taught about how to manage money. Sure I learned from my Mom how to get a bargain using coupons. My dad gave in to buying us things we wanted from the grocery store when we went with him. Through those actions I learned, but I was never taught how to set aside an emergency fund or save for retirement. It was all one lesson, save your money. Even the lesson of saving was to put whatever money I had earned into a savings account for things that I wanted to buy. Everything is too expensive when you are a kid, yet somehow as adults we think the opposite, suddenly everything becomes obtainable and a must have.
Being an adult, I can tell that my behavior is similar to when I was little, save money to buy things I don’t really need. No one holds me accountable, I can use a credit card to purchase all the stuff I want. It’s much easier when no one is around to forget what your mother has told you.
How were you supposed to live when no one else was watching? We all have moments of struggles, but the kids on my lawn are a simple reminder that we can choose to live our lives like no one is watching or just the opposite. Where we come from and what we learned in childhood isn’t any excuse for us to ignore our finances. We can pick up our trash and get our personal finances under control, because that is the only way to live with financial freedom!