Teaching children the value of money - that should rank as one of the most important life skills that we parents can impart to them. Because without a healthy attitude towards one's finances, it sure is a recipe for disaster in their future years.
I am too, guilty of indulging the monkies at times - be it buying them boxes of LEGO or building an entire army of Transformers. And don't even get me started on the little diva.
But I try. I try to teach the boys the concept of budgeting. I teach them how to split their savings into 3 groups: one for saving, one for spending and one for giving.
Money placed into Savings would be for something that the kids really want - something that requires a substantial amount of savings but yet not too unattainable. Things like buying a Wii game, or a LEGO Hero Factory set.
Money that goes into Spending is meant for things that they want but the wifey and I wouldn't buy for them. Things like one round of play at the Animal Kaiser machine, or a lollipop.
Money meant for Giving would be for charitable causes. And ever since Ash & Ayd were old enough to understand, we have been highlighting newspaper articles to them whenever the unfortunate and needy were featured.
But the most difficult part of all, I feel, is teaching them the true value behind working for one's money. Because the entire chunk of their fortune so far has come from either us or the grandparents. They didn't exactly toil for it.
So I was very happy that on our KidZania trip during the last June School Holidays, Ash received a lesson in learning what it truly meant to work for your money.
At KidZania, the kids are made to work for their money, or KidZos as it is called there. The kids have a wide array of jobs to choose from and after the completion of these jobs, they are paid in KidZos.
Ash & Ayd earned approximately 110 KidZos each after our 5 hours there. And Ash decided to spend 50 kidZos on a light wand as a reward for himself. He also generously bought another light wand for his sister, so that she wouldn't feel left out.
Shortly after we left KidZania, Ash wanted to tear away the plastic wrapper around his light wand. He gave it a hard tug and to his horror, the 'star' portion of his wand broke away from the stick. I tried my best to repair it but it was to no avail as the wires had already been severed.
Ash burst into tears immediately. Right in the middle of the shopping mall.
I have never seen him wailing so badly for as long as I can remember. To say he was inconsolable was an understatement. I think Ale must have been taken aback by this crying kor-kor of hers, because she did the unimaginable - she offered her own light wand back to Ash!
Well, it sort of comforted Ash somewhat. But he was still sobbing away uncontrollably.
He did stop crying eventually and when we were back in the hotel room, I asked him the reason behind his devastation.
He replied, "I bought that wand with my own money, and I had to queue so long and work so hard to earn that money. So when my wand broke, of course I feel so sad lah!"
I couldn't have put it better myself. :)