Kids are smarter than I think many adults may realize. They are sponges and they really listen and absorb what they see around them. They also have the ability to draw their own conclusions and have their own unique thoughts on all sorts of topics. I experienced this with my own kids.
I was talking with my kids after school one afternoon. My son, who is 9 (almost 10), was talking about some things he was working on in school. He then talked about some numbers on a paper he was working on and said that he was going to have one person make one quadrillion dollars.
My youngest daughter, who is 8, said that it is not good to be wealthy. She said you don’t have many friends if you are. That lead us into a totally different discussion.
Me: So, why would wealthy people not have friends?
Her: Because people might be jealous of them and not want to be with them.
Me: Do you think it is because they think they have to be rich to have friends?
Her: Sometimes, but a lot of wealthy people just get lots of stuff and that is not nice to show it off.
We talked a bit more about friendships and what matters in being a good friend. They both talked about being nice other people, and letting them play with your toys. The said that they are good friends because they are helpful and never mean.
Total proud mom moment there. They really have been listening, and following the examples my husband and I have been showing them.
The talk then went a bit more about money directly.
Me: Are we wealthy?
Her: No. But we have enough money.
Him: Yeah. We aren’t rich, but we have enough money.
Me: How do you know we have enough money?
Her: Because we have a house, and food and clothes.
Him: Yeah. And know one needs lots and lots of money. You just need money to pay for things you need.
Me: What do we need?
Her: Food, clothes, a house.
Him: Yeah, and we also need electricity and stuff like that.
Me: So you don’t need lots of money?
Her: No. Cuz that doesn’t matter.
Me: Does it make you happier if you are wealthy?
Him: No. We aren’t wealthy and we are happy.
The proud mama tears were welling up inside of me. My kids had figured out, at ages 8 and 9, what many adults have yet to figure out.
Sure, we need to save for retirement, college and emergencies. But, we don’t need to be wealthy to live a good life. We just need to make enough money to live and be happy.
I know many adults who could learn from my kids, and maybe even their own. I’d love to hear what your kids say when you ask them about money. Ask them these questions and then share with me:
Are we wealthy?
What does it mean to be wealthy?
Why do you need money?
Does money mean you are happy?
You too might be shocked at their answers. And maybe, just maybe, it can help you realize what matters most of all. Them. At the end of the day, they matter more than all of the money in the world.