I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finance Lessons learned from yelling at my children

I am a stickler for disciplining my children. I come home, see that things aren’t done and I go into immediate ‘fuss mode’ yelling and screaming and doling out punishment.

My children (one in particular) challenged me ‘Why do you always yell at us?’ There was more said after this question but it was so stupid that I can’t say the words or my brain will freeze up (and I will become a vegetable) just know that it was very childish, a horrible use of circular logic, revolved around kid centric oppression, and STUPID.

I hit them right back with the question ‘Why don’t you have the chores done before I get home?’ You have plenty of time to come in and play managed your time properly. Why won’t you make the same effort to help out around the house that you make to play? (I know an age old question) If I come in the house and there is crap all over the table from your snacks, the trash hasn’t been taken out, there are crayons on the floor and toys strewn up and down the hall, homework is not finished… then of course I will fuss.

I know why the chores aren’t done (I was once a child). The chores are the difficult stuff, you know work. They are not fun and take too much time to complete. Why do hard work when there is fun (in their cases, tv, dolls, etc) to be had?

Then I said this: ‘YOU dictate the type of mother you get when I come home. If you have completed all the chores required of you then I don’t need to come in with the yelling and screaming.’

Before the words finished coming out of my mouth, it hit me – this applies to personal finance and life as well.

See the problem with money is that doing the right thing is hard. Like my children some people believe that they will miss out on having fun (shopping, eating out, partying, acquiring things, having the really cool car or the biggest house).

But like I have learned and my children (and many adults) are having a hard time grasping; if you don’t make an effort to get the difficult things out of the way first – like saving, like paying the bills on time, like planning for purchases and emergencies then you will get punished not by ‘mother’ but by ‘life’.

Just like I told my children ‘YOU dictate the type of mother you get when I come home.’ You dictate the type of life you will live if you focus on having fun instead of doing the dirty, difficult work first.

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