#16 Why So Angry? Podcast: The Good, The Bad, and The Messy of New Parenting
I remember going to a Crossfit gym in LA and meeting an individual who had an interesting job: a financial manager for professional sports players. He explained to me how the job was like being a parent -- having to teach their children about money. I distinctly remember the most important lesson that he would tell his clients, "to never put your money in depreciating assets." When I heard that I was struck and started wishing that I had learned this from an early age.
Therefore, I want to talk about value systems. I want to talk about those most important things in life that are expected of youths to understand as they grow older. Yet, sadly there is a large majority of these lessons that are more implied rather than explicit through our institutional educational systems. What I mean by implied is by the way we are forced to read between the lines to determine what it requires to live as adults. It is fair to say that there are critical concepts to learn during the early stages of development (emotional intelligence, social etiquette, hygiene, personal finance), and though we have specialized curriculum that may engage with these "societal" wellness categories, I would say that from an academic standpoint, these areas of self-growth are severely lacking.
Of course, this stance is a more a matter of my perspective, but I'd have to say that my life has been a result of learning a lot of things on my own -- and it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to state the claim that there is a large majority that feel the same way. My parents really sacrificed a lot to make sure that me and my siblings were provided for in every area of development, to make sure we had a strong educational background and that we participated in almost every extracurricular activities -- making sure that we were active physically and mentally. My mother specifically pushed for us to be in certain activities -- and I think I never really understood why, but in hindsight I understand. Essentially, she feared that my father, who was tremendously incapacitated by depression, wasn't suited to be a strong paternal figure necessary to facilitate a balanced and healthy adolescence. Therefore, my parents had strong feelings that -- having been provided a sound educational background -- their children will somehow overcome a vacancy left behind my mental illness.
Though my own story is unique to myself and my family, yet I suspect my story has more in common with other members of the community -- and more specifically, the under privileged minority families that exist throughout this nation. I have realized that there is a tremendous gap in not just society's educational system, but our cultural developmental system.
The perception exists that schools are predominantly tasked to educate America's youth with the necessary life skills that will build a thriving economy and society. However, that is not the entire picture. What happens when families are severely lacking with the at-home dynamics that make for a complete and emotionally balanced human being? After all, aren't these places of education quick to the defensive posture that they cannot be responsible for destructive behavior of certain severely troubled children? That schools can never replace the need of involved parental figures?
American school systems' primary function is to introduce our youth to higher levels of education: math, science, English, and history. Yet, where are the crucial lessons about personal finance and how to save money? What of the concepts of what is acceptable debt and how to understand medical health insurance? Schools aren't here to teach students how to be compassionate towards a partner in a relationship or how to deal with perpetual loneliness -- the things that really are the core of your day-to-day adulthood for most Americans. Sadly, parents, especially if they're two working parents that have to leave their children with a caretaker or preschool, a kindergarten or middle school teacher, are trusting their children will somehow learn these lesson's through osmosis of some sort.
So, essentially what I'm trying to illustrate here is that there's a gap. Whose fault is it? How is it supposed to be? I think these questions would immediately be jumping to the per-mature reaction of "how do we fix things". But let's just take a moment to acknowledge that there is a problem before we do what we do best and blame one another. I'm not even proposing a solution or an ideal setup of how this is supposed to be, but a spotlight.
So long answer, short answer, is to remember when you start earning your own money to think of every purchase as an appreciating or a non-appreciating asset.
Okay. That's all I have.
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- Visit www.captivatedmind.com for show notes.
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