With the media blowing everything out of proportion from scaring our kids to just walk in the street or eating the wrong types of foods, we are seriously going to be stuck with a generation of whimpy, fragile kids who just won’t try anything, stand up for themselves, or just allow everything the media, insurance companies and anyone of authority to walk right over them.
I was talking to a financial planner the other day and we were working out my life insurance in the event that I die. She thought I had over-insured myself, but when she worked out the figures – assuming I die tomorrow, that I need to clear my debts and provide for my two boys to a certain age, I had the figure pretty spot on until my boys were 20 years old. But then she suggested that there was no way that they will leave home then, that I will need to provide for their university courses, maybe buy them a car and should be their primary carer until at least 25 years of age. I was blown away at that thought! I am NOT raising boys who cannot and will not have the ability to look after themselves.
I will expect my boys to have part time jobs when they are 15 years old, they will pay for their own university degrees upfront or through student loans, if that’s the road they choose and if they choose to live at home, they will pay board and contribute to the running of the household when they have finished high school. In fact, at the ages of 12 and 10 that they are now, they are already saving for their cars and university fund by putting all their birthday & pocket money into their bank accounts as well as selling their unwanted toys. They have been doing chores around the house for the past 4 years like emptying the dishwasher, drying the dishes, putting their clothes away, vacuuming, wiping tables & benches, watering plants & putting the rubbish bins out to EARN their pocket money.
My boys are very proud of the money they have sitting in the bank. They understand the value of a dollar (and even in foreign currencies), so they look after their toys, especially the ones they know they will grow out of and want to Ebay in the future. I don’t actually buy them any toys anymore… I give them a certain amount of pocket money to save each week and a certain amount to spend (its about 25% spend, 75% save), so if they want something, they save their spending money until they can afford it.
But when I look around and see what ‘men’ are out there these days, most, if not all, are looking for a ‘mother’ figure as a girlfriend or wife to look after them. And it doesn’t matter how old they are – 25, 40, 57, 70… they all want the ‘comfort’ of being looked after by a woman. I want my boys to be strong, independent, caring and compassionate men who know how to earn a living, know how to pay their own bills on time and be successful without being cocky.
I’m not saying all parents are wrapping their kids in cotton blankets, but there is a good percentage that do. I urge all parents to allow your children the freedom to find their feet, get the courage to walk out the door on their own, find their way home and let them know it’s ok to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. Make them understand responsibility for themselves and others, make them unselfish and have a desire to give. But please don’t be raising your child well into his or her 20s or even 30s expecting them to somehow fend for themselves when your dead and buried, but not give them the tools to know how to be their own person NOW! No matter how old they are, it’s never to young to start.