Dear Dr. Laura,
I was listening to your show about family expectations of children. I listen to your podcasts and am a little behind in your show. I love you by the way!
When my son was 10 yrs old, he wanted a football team 'starter jacket' which was all the rage in his school. Because my husband was laid-off at the time we were financially strapped. The coat cost $120.00. I told him I would give him $60.00 toward the coat (what it would cost at Kmart) since he did need a new one that year.
I had an aloe plant that sent off a lot of baby plants. He asked if he could have the baby plants to sell. He potted up 15 plants, loaded them in his wagon and went off into the neighborhood. He came back with $15.00 and a big smile. After much brainstorming he decided to buy $15.00 worth of candy at wholesale (his friend's parents took him to the wholesale store - I didn't even have a car at the time). He went off on his bike to sell the candy, ringing a bell like the ice cream man and came back with $30.00. He re-invested the $30.00 into more candy, earned $60.00 and bought the coat. He learned several lessons from this event. He has the power to make things happen and name-brand things "just aren't worth it".
He used this story for his college essay as the most important lesson in his life. He earned a scholarship.
He is now 31 yrs old, has a master's degree and runs his own business as an acupuncturist. My daughter is 28 yrs old and is a registered nurse. Because we never had a lot of money my kids bought their own cars, paid for their insurance, paid their own cell phone bill and paid their way through college. They are now happy, secure, adult homeowners. I was a stay at home mom. I made money at home teaching kids to sew. We bought a large, used pool for the backyard because we couldn't afford vacations. My kids have both worked since age 12. I grew up poor and also worked from about age 12 (cleaning my aunt's house). The money I made gave me a feeling of power. I did not feel deprived. My husband sometimes felt guilty because of our situation but I knew it would not hurt our kids. They are strong and happy. They are proud of themselves and I am proud of them. We have a very close relationship.