(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

When I was growing up we didn’t have all the modern conveniences we have today. Kids in my family actually had to do chores around the house.

My brother, sister and I got stuck with rotating dishes duty — no dishwasher. My parents were big believers in kids being self-reliant and to assume personal responsibility for their family jobs.

At the time we didn’t see it as a preparation for what we would face in later life.

In addition, my mother taught us lots of things we would need in later life, as I found out after leaving home for college, and then military service.

She felt there were three important things we needed to know. 1.) How to cook; 2.) How to sew; and 3.) How to do laundry and iron our clothes. Keep in mind this was long before permanent press.

Your First Impression

While jeans with holes in them are a status symbol today, they were not in the 1950s and 60s. They meant you were poor.

So being able to repair a small tear, or replace a button, wearing pressed shirts and pants, kept up an appearance that reflected a more positive station in life and a more self-confident person.

Exit Self-Reliance; Enter More Dependency

Growing up in a small midwestern town, only the winners got a trophy. You learned that sometimes you came out on the losing end.

But there was always another game tomorrow and the results might reflect a different outcome.

They also used “red pens” to bring prominence to our errors. It was important that we learned that errors, while undesirable, are correctable.

However, it’s hard to see those errors on a “Pass-Fail” grading system.

A minuscule amount of errors are permitted in real life. Our children are not learning this in our current educational system.

Money Makes The World Go Round

I learned to make change at an early age. Not because I worked in the family business, because we learned about money in school.

We learned the various denominations of coin and paper currency and how money was used, and how it was earned.

Many kids today have no idea what their parents do for a living, how they make money, and how their budget is determined.

You don’t need to sit down and talk stocks and bonds with your ten year old but you can certainly explain what you do, why it’s worth doing for money, and learning how to handle that earned money responsibly.

Some Final Thoughts

My parents took me to the bank during my elementary school years and started a savings account for me. I received an allowance based on the quality of my work around the house and was taught that I can have toys or comics or whatever was important to me if I did the work and saved the money.

I learned that immediate gratification was not the way life worked. When I did enough work and saved enough I had the ability to purchase the things I wanted.

If the schools no longer teach this then it’s up to the parents to come to the rescue. Otherwise your child is going to have a tough time making it very far in real life.

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