My daughter is 18 years old this year, older than I was when she
was born. For years we lived on a very low income and barely
made ends meet.
She watched me work my way through college, studying hard, often
working more than one job to make ends meet. If you were to ask
her now if we had any money when she was young she would tell you
she didn't really know. She never went to bed hungry and always
had clean clothes to wear. She always had toys to play with and
mom was always there for her when she needed her. That is what
My daughter is now applying for college herself, and wanted me to
read her college application. She had to write about herself and
her life, her relationships, etc. I was very surprised to read
what she thought about her childhood. We have lived through a
lot of tough times and there are a lot of negative stories she
could tell. What she described is how thankful she was for the
hardships she has endured and how she has become a strong woman
because of her life experiences. She credits me for her drive
and determination. She attributes her money management skills to
Her essay made me realize that it is not the experiences we go
through that shape us--it is how we handle those experiences.
When you are enduring financial hardships, if you make poor
decisions, your children will see your decisions and feel the
impact of those decisions. If you make good choices, your
children will learn from those choices also, regardless of your
financial circumstances. Every choice you make affects the people
your children will some day become. If your children see you
charging up your credit cards (regardless of how much money you
make), they will think that is normal and will learn those
spending habits from you. If you live on a low income and spend
your money wisely, your children will learn to manage their money
You can not teach your children what you do not model. Your
children need to learn to budget their money, however much money
that is, to not accumulate debt, and to shop wisely. You can
teach them this from a very young age, with even their
allowances. Sit down and really take the time to decide what you
want your children to learn about money and start modeling those
behaviors for your children today.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home
decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.
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