If you had three wishes, what would they be? Would they have been different when you were younger? Do you think they will change as you get older? How about when you were around 11 years old? What would they have been?
My 11 year old’s teacher asked this question of them recently at school. It then went around the class with each student responding with what their three wishes would be.
When she was telling me about it, I really did not expect what she said next. “Apart from me and two others, everyone said they wanted an unlimited amount of money.” One child even followed this up by saying it was what he wanted because then he would be happy.
I was staggered. And deeply saddened. What on earth are we, as parents, teaching our children?
This school has a fairly high percentage of white collar parents, so it’s not a case of underprivileged children wanting money because of a real need. And even having said that, I wonder what the answer to that question would be from a different socio-economic demographic – quite possibly it would be these kids who would demonstrate a better understanding of what brings satisfaction and happiness in life.
When I was 11, I think my answer would have been something along the lines of 1) a new Barbie doll 2) another pet 3) that my brother would disappear, or at the very least leave me alone!
Yet, the majority of these children said money was on the top of their list and that if they had money, they had no need of the other two wishes. What a terrible insight into this future generation.
Do these children have this view on money because their parents emphasise the need for more and more money? Or is it the media, constantly telling us that we need the latest of everything? Or is it social media, which gives a first hand insight into other’s lives and ‘all they have’ compared to us? It’s most likely a combination of all three but I would be willing to bet that how their parents view money would weigh as the most influential.
Kids pick up on everything we do, say and show – even when we don’t realise it and especially when we don’t want them to!
Do you constantly say you don’t have enough money? Do you show how much you value money by working extra hours on the job and spending less time at home? Do you have to have what your friends have and throw a two year old tantrum if you don’t get it?
As parents or care-givers, we need to be checking ourselves. We are still the loudest voice in their world and it very much matters what we say.
Have you ever heard of someone on their deathbed saying they wish they’d made more money? What they do say is they wish they’d spent more time with family; valued the friendships they’d had; and enjoyed life.
Let’s not wait until it’s too late to realise what our ‘wishes’ should be and let’s help our children recognise the right things to value, now rather than later or not at all.