the trap of instant gratification

Posted on Posted in Life Lessons, Parenting

After last Sunday’s preaching on our church‘s new series, “It’s Not About the Money,” I couldn’t help but think about my own kids and the lessons that my husband and I have tried to teach them in terms of handling money. I’d like to think that our kids have progressively become wiser when it comes to money. While our youngest still thinks that the ATM will dispense money for us unlimitedly, we see our third child having more self-control in his spending, and our two teens have started their own mutual funds account already.

It is never too early to teach our kids about money. If there is one important lesson that we made sure to teach our kids, it is TO WAIT. Our kids are born into a culture of instant gratification. Much of it is due to the internet, though the internet has been so helpful in many ways. When they want a particular game, they download it in an instant. They post pictures online in an instant. When they want to buy a shirt, they buy it in an instant, with same-day shipping. They are accustomed to getting things instantly and become impatient too quickly. They want things now, now, now! Who among us haven’t heard one of our kids complain “The internet is sooo slow!” And they are not even downloading anything important… it’s just that they want to see the video of the singing goat.

We teach our kids to wait. We try not to react in panic everytime they cry for something.  We tell them to wait in line for the slide. We instruct them to eat their sweets after their meal. We encourage them to wait another week before deciding to buy something, to make sure that they really want it. We ask them to check  different stores first and look for the best deal. We always give them a budget, and if that is not enough for what they want, they would just have to wait to save up. Parents, one of the best things we can do for our children is to not give in to their every demand.

imagesIt’s baffling how, as Paolo explained, Allen Iverson can be bankrupt today after earning over 150 million dollars from the NBA. “Throughout his career Iverson’s wasteful spending was legendary. He frequently traveled with an entourage of up to 50 people. He showered these same people with luxurious jewelry, expensive cars and exotic vacations (celebritynetworth.com).” I think the ability to wait would have given him time to think twice or thrice about spending his money unwisely.

I don’t want the same story for my kids. I don’t want them to lose God’s blessings because they buy on impulse or spend on a whim. I want them to learn how to manage their money well, use it for the right things and be a blessing to others.

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