Joscelyn,

I honor your reasoning, and I have a different take. Full disclosure: I have no kids. Everything I have to say is nothing but a personal experience, and needs to be taken in that light, because the dynamics of every household are completely different. Which is why, given that I have no children, I’m only offering a perspective, and that’s all.

I grew up on a small family farm in Florida to Depression Era parents. My father started using my brother and me around the farm very young- I was four. I got a quarter a week, both of us did, for chores that had to be done, which we couldn’t hire help to pay for, and Dad wanted very much to teach us self sufficiency. My bro and I trade responsibilities: one day I had all the household stuff, then he did. The rest we took on as we got older and stronger: packing eggs, cutting weeds, taking care of the animals. It was not only fun, it was also teaching me to save. I had a reason. I really, really, really wanted a horse.

We both worked for my father on his egg delivery route, which was like a milk route. I learned to handle money, my dad taught me how to deal with severe shyness. I learned to count change, talk to people. Meanwhile, I got very, very strong doing the chores.

Every summer, every vacation, I worked with my Dad three days a week. On weekends I had long chore lists. Dad paid us fairly. Later on we had a few other employees with whom I shared responsibilities. By the time I got to ten years old, I had enough to buy a horse, half and half, with my Dad. That was one hell of a lesson in saving, finances, work ethic and personal responsibility. I’ve never forgotten them, nor would I have changed a single thing about growing up. Because every Saturday and Sunday, after chores, I could ride. I love horses like I love life, in part because of my father, and because he loved them, and wanted me to love them, and have one and ride well. Today I ride well all over the world in some of most extraordinary places on earth.

I left home at 16 because although there was a lot of good, my brother was a predator and Dad had a drinking problem. What I learned at home set me up to find a job, run a house hold, save money, and take care of myself.

My brother responded very, very differently. Which is why, no matter what anyone does for a kid, there is absolutely no guarantee that what we teach them, they will get it. That’s out of our control.

I think there are so very many pieces to this. Teaching kids about money through an allowance is a way to provide an education. It’s not the only way. Every one of us needs to learn to balance a checkbook, handle money, run a household. I don’t care what that looks like. What I keep seeing and hearing is that too many of us are absolutely clueless. There’s no guidance for a lot of people, which I have always thought started at home.

All I have is my own experience. It’s not my place, nor do I think it’s anyone else’s to tell any parent how to bring a kid up, unless they’re soliciting advice.

My parents brought me up gender equal. They also brought me up physically strong, a value I have to this day at 67. There is no doubt in my mind that what I learned on that farm is part of why I have the epic life I have now, doing adventure travel all over the world, running several businesses, a body builder for 46 years and counting. I wouldn’t suggest that anyone else would get the same results. What I do know is that despite the issues that my folks had, which were many, the work ethic that they instilled, the love of getting things done and done well, being paid a fair wage and being taught how to save and manage my pennies as a child paid off handsomely. Does that make me right? Nope. Does that make it right for everyone? Not at all. I am simply sharing a perspective. Bringing up kids in the twenties is NOT bringing up kids in the fifties and sixties. I’m not a fool. But I do wonder what pieces of what we used to do might useful, and which might not be. That’s over my pay grade. I appreciate your perspective.

Written by

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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