Thanks to my dad I became a student of history. It seems like a lot of today's parents are so busy making a living, they don't have time to share their personal and family history with their kids. Yes, I know it's rather difficult these days for us average (non-millionaire) parents. Dorothy and I experienced that even to the point of total bankruptcy and losing everything, yet we still raised 5 kids and adopted a 6th.
Nonetheless, thanks to my dad I learned to share my personal history with my kids, along with the history of the Sunderland Clan from its roots in Northern Scotland to the present. One of the things that became apparent early on is that my branch of the Sunderland family after landing on this continent rarely had it easy. Little, if any, monetary inheritance was passed on to succeeding generations, including my parents and myself.
What was passed on was one of the best gifts a parent can give to their children: the gift of personal responsibility.
Starting early in my life and lasting through all of my teen years, birthday and Christmas gifts were few. At Christmas I might get a new pair of jeans, a shirt and a small toy. If the folks were especially flush with money, there would be a sock with a candy cane, apple or orange and a couple pieces of wrapped chocolate. I never thought I was deprived. Birthday presents followed the same pattern, until my late teen years when family finances took a turn for the better. Instead of receiving more gifts, I still got one, but that one gift was a little bit more expensive and longer lasting.
The best gift of all that I received thru the years was the training my parents gave me in personal responsibility. This gift has lasted through all the years of my teens into my current age (still not gonna tell you how aged!) I've done and said things I shouldn't have, but I never tried to blame anyone else and I took both responsibility and punishment for my bad deeds. The best of all these gifts from my parents was the training I received in the handling of my personal life and responsibilities. I've done my best to pass that trait on to my kids.
Yes, money and material things can be nice to have. They can also load you down with stress and worry as you concentrate on protecting them, often at the expense of not having a good one-on-one relationship with your spouse and kids. (Again, from personal experience! That's for another story.)
I encourage parents to give your children the same gifts I received from mine. By both word and deed show them how to be responsible for themselves in every thing they do and say. Even if it means requiring them to work, also known as toil & sweat equity. Too many youngsters (anyone under 31) have been given an easy or a free ride into adulthood. They enter the work force expecting to be handed a large paycheck for spending a few hours sitting on their duffs in front of a computer screen.
Got news for you kids, some of the best paying jobs these days require both brain and muscle power. And you don't start at the top or even the middle of the ladder. You start at the bottom and then work (yes I used THAT 4-letter word) your way up the ladder. And it is not government's or society's responsibility to take care of you if you decide to be lazy. Unless you have some kind of a provable physical or mental handicap, it is not my, or anyone else's, job to take care of you. Get a job, or starve. The choice is yours, kiddo.
Remember: TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch). Don't know about you, but I'm getting sick and tired of supporting the lazy; and that includes elected officials. We're paying far too much to our elected reps to sit on their duffs and tell us how to live. In future elections lets make them understand they work for you and I. And fire the ones who don't... regardless of political party. P.S. Let's get to work to reduce their salaries. Few, if any, have earned what they are getting paid.