So my boy turned 14 last week. Definitely my kid. Goofy sense of humor, tall for his age and already has a mustache. Yep. No denying this one.
He is smarter than me, though. Just like our girls. All of them are incredible people. The kind of folks you just feel honored to know.
I have been thinking more and more about what we have taught them as they grow. Things that matter to us and things we wish we had learned earlier. Things that we hope they can avoid and have an easier life than ours has been.
As parents, watching them grow up, we have to keep in mind that they are still their own people. They will accept some things and reject others. Some of what we teach and inspire will become part of them, some things just don’t mesh with who they are. They still have to make their own decisions.
It’s also a fact that we were only kids ourselves, when they were little. We made bad decisions. We set bad examples. Some of what they learned about life was wrong, because we were wrong. Thank God not all of it stuck.
In some ways, they became good people in spite of us.
Last night, my son played a game with me. One that seemed like it might be over his head at first, but he still managed to beat me three games out of five.
We teach them about marriage and family, the significance of the most important relationships. We teach them about faith and hope. But one issue that has plagued us for twenty six years is money. Bad decisions and missed opportunities have kept us struggling since day one.
The game we played was designed by Robert Kyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Another guy who learned about money with both good and bad examples. He designed a game called Cashflow, which is now available to play online for free.
It teaches you about the difference in assets and liabilities as well as basic skills for investing. It’s an amazing tool, one I wish had been available thirty years ago.
Even though he didn’t grasp the rules at first, my kid still stomped me in the first game. The second game was even more brutal. I finally won a game, only to get smoked again on the fourth. The last game took a while, but I finally got him.
That experience left me even more hopeful for my kids. Watching him figure it out and develop a strategy for eliminating debt, building up investments and ultimately retiring wealthy was inspiring. Even more so, knowing that the rules of that game apply to real-life money.
Since the school systems don’t teach real financial issues, and we haven’t done so well, I am thankful for tools like this. Something that make me feel more confident about their financial future. I want my kids to be successful in every aspect of their life.
It’s critically important that they value marriage and family, but since money problems are a leading cause of divorce, this may be just as important. My kids are smart, but if they had only learned money management from my example, they would be doomed to fail. We need to be willing to learn from those who have already accomplished the things we want to do.
I won’t feel like a successful father, unless I see my kids succeed. If you haven’t taken time to invest in that type of education for your own kids, now might be the time.
If you need more help with the issues of marriage and family, consider another book. Becoming a Better Man is now available in paperback.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.