It’s almost Father’s Day. My own dad has been gone a little over 12 years now, but he is still a part of every day of my life. The impact our fathers have on us isn’t something that goes away when they do, it lasts forever. So how do we make sure that the impact we have on our children is positive? We have to start thinking about the skills that they need to get them through an entire lifetime.
I learned a lot from my father, like the importance of hard work and honesty. How to figure out how to fix things, and how to fish. How to treat others, and how our actions lead to consequences. All of those things affect the way I act every day. But one thing my dad taught me that has been the most useful in my life is how to treat money.
My dad had a good job with good benefits, but he never made a lot of money. Yet, he had a camper, atv’s, two trucks, horses, just about any toy he wanted. And it was paid for. He lived by a tight budget, saved money, and didn’t spend unless it was necessary. As I think about how he lived, and how he was still able to play as he wanted, I realize that learning to manage money is one of the most important skills we can teach our children. They probably aren’t going to learn it in school, and many personal finance courses teach them about various types of debt. Using debt isn’t a skill I want my kids to learn, I want them to learn how to avoid debt.
Our children need to see us exercise patience, saving for things instead of buying on credit. They need to see us using what we have, not replacing when what we have works just fine. They need to learn to take care of things so that they last a lot longer. They need to learn that you don’t buy things that you can’t afford. They need to learn to be self sufficient, taking care of their own needs. This comes from working hard, and being able to take on extra work if they need to.
All of this goes along with the theme of “teaching a man to fish”, if we teach our children how to work hard and treat their money with respect, they will have a valuable life skill that will help them throughout their lives, long after we’re gone. Happy Father’s Day everyone!