The holidays are here, and so are the non-stop commercials, catalogs, and billboards advertising holiday treats for the kids. Do you know what it's like to have your child beg to see the magic of Disneyland at Christmas every day at 5:23 pm when you drive by the flashing billboard? I do.
The discussion I've been having with my kids, that is certainly getting more heated as the Toys 'R' Us circular arrives, goes like this: Them : "I want it." Me: "We're not made of money." Them: "How do we get more money?" Me: "I would have to work another job." Them: "Can you do that by Christmas?"
While explaining money to kids is incredibly unsatisfying, I recently realized that having them want more of it, was actually a great thing.
I did not grow up rich -- not even close. I always wished we could go on fabulous vacations, and I could have Guess? jeans in time for the first day of school, and that I could have a car. Any car. None of these luxuries were made available to me, but I swore someday (someday!!) these would be mine. This drive led me to college, twice, and to explore living in a variety of cities far away from the farm where I grew up. It led me to a career that I love, and the drive to make it happen. I honestly feel that if I never had to worry about money I might be sitting home on my butt right now complaining about the maid.
Maybe not, but being motivated to change your circumstances breeds creativity. Ambition is coupled with hard work. Being a trust fund kid, however, can almost guarantee you a spot on Celebrity Rehab. Of course not every rich kid falls into a deep, dark, hole. Many go on to work on Wall Street and create deep, dark, holes for others. (I kid! Sort of.) But it can be incredibly difficult to find your way, or to even aspire to be a better person, if you never have to work for a living.
So even though my kids think that it's unfair that they can't have a birthday party at the Staples Center, I know what I'm giving them is something even better: a chance to make it on their own. Plus, I can stop believing that life would only be better if we lived on top of the hill. Mucking around in the middle is a heck of a lot better -- for all of us.
Do you think rich kids are worse off than the rest of us?
Image via Neiman Marcus