Sunday, August 17, 2008

Random Tales About the Quest for Stewardship 1

I mentioned high school in one of the last posts and thought I should elaborate. Some background and reminiscing here. Not a collection of "poor me" stories. I never ever felt like a "poor me" growing up. Not ever. But we didn't have a lot of money. We grew up saving everything so the money I earned babysitting usually went into savings. I saved for a camera once - a polaroid. Still left me with $200. Alot of money!

When we went to the store for groceries we only bought groceries. I mean ONLY groceries and only a week’s worth - only the groceries we needed - and we didn't throw food away. Buying 5 cents worth of penny candy (5 pieces) on a Sunday morning after church when my grandfather bought his Sunday paper (if we were good in church) was our candy for a week. We rarely bought toys, books, music, gadgets or technology.

We didn't have a lot of extra money for clothes shopping. I wore 2nd hand clothes from my cousin. We went to the store to buy a dress and dress shoes for Easter and got new pajamas for Christmas. Otherwise we didn't buy clothes very often - not never, just not very often. Buy only what you need and spend as little money as possible.

As a result, I never really learned to shop. I learned not to buy. They're not the same. I learned to save and not spend. I never learned about investing or taking risks - even well-informed risks. We lived safe. I bought my camera and went to college but I wasn’t thinking about either as investment.

My husband grew up in a similar situation to mine but as an adult he’s always made good money and he likes to shop (unlike me). Buying a camera means you're going to invest in taking pictures. Buying cooking utensils means you're going to invest in cooking. Buying an instrument means you're going to invest in your music. Not neccessarily as a career but with your time, improving your skill although his business side is always lurking there. You invest in the best tools you can afford in order to do the best work you can do. He knows what he wants and what he doesn’t want. He’s more apt to spend more to get more. He’s more apt to go looking for the best deal to get the quality he’s looking for. He's more apt to upgrade and capitalize on new technology. He's not afraid to invest or take risks. Maybe it's a culture's displaced hunter instinct. He's also a generous giver - with two capital G's.

My kids grew up with what they needed plus some. It wasn't that we had alot - just more than we needed and enough to give. As a parent of a working teenager, it was healthy for them to have a job.

-It gave them something constructive to do with their time,

-got them out in the world doing something besides church, sports, or taking a class,

-gave them opportunity to work for a boss who wasn’t family,

-gave them $ for clothes, camera film, books, yearbooks, gifts, music, time out w/friends.

It also throws them into an adult world with adults who aren’t there to look out for them. They darned well better be mature enough to look out for themselves and stand up for themselves. They need to be wise.

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