“Only one hundred dollars?!” twelve-year-old Jason sneered at me. “What can a puny hundred dollars buy?!” I was teaching a basic finance class at an elementary school in New York City, and the topic of the day was how to convince bankers to lend the students one hundred dollars to start a business.
With twenty-five pairs of young eyes trained on me for an answer, I felt a rush of sadness. How have our children lost their appreciation for money? As far as I know, they don’t work and all the money they have is given to them by their parents. How could I teach these children to appreciate every dollar their parents earn for them?
In the past three years, we have witnessed a severe recession and massive layoffs. While parents struggle with longer work hours and less pay, their children still want the latest Ugg boots and Barbour coats. If parents dare to say no, children often counter in frustration, “What do you mean we can’t afford it? Can’t you just get money out of the ATM?”
Until parents explain to their children what it takes for money to keep rolling out of ATMs, children will take those green bills for granted. They will also take your hard work for granted. It will be impossible for children to fully appreciate the holiday gifts you give them if they don’t know how hard you have to work to pay for those gifts.
That’s one of the reasons I wrote the Enchanted Collar series—to help parents teach their children to appreciate the incredible effort that goes into raising a family. In the Enchanted Collar stories, Eli had no idea of money’s worth in Book 1, squandered his mother’s entire savings on one meal in Book 2, had to work in a restaurant to pay off his debt in Book 3, and finally gained a sincere appreciation for money and hard work in Book 4.
If you want your children to understand and appreciate your hard work, which manifests in food, shelter, other necessities, and gifts, share with them the Enchanted Collar stories and show them what it takes to earn a living. Let your children learn financial lessons through the eyes and hearts of Eli, Earl, Elda, and Skipper. Teach them to appreciate every single dollar you earn for them. Teach them to appreciate you.