©Coyyright Deb Huntley 2008 - 2014 ~ All rights reserved.
Today, living without money is impossible.
Even in remote contemplative monasteries
there is always at least one person who
takes the responsibility of generating an
income, paying bills and buying supplies.
Most monasteries and centers today exist
by running their own small businesses of
service or charging for retreats and
publications. Only a handful of monasteries
still sell their jams, fruitcakes and wine or
maintain on donations alone. In regular societies we face inflation,
teetering global markets and shaky national economies everyday.
Trugpa Rinpoche wrote, "The river of materialism has burst its banks."
So, how do we educate children about today's financial situation?
Completely withholding a real education about money is not an option.
Awareness is the way to right livelihood and right action.
The biggest tip for teaching children about money is to use every practical
opportunity to make money real in their lives. Not with lectures to kids,
but with gradual step-by-step, year-by-year hands on teaching for
about 16 years. Unfortunately, families usually teach that money
is either an unreachable goal and bigger than life itself, or so invisible
due to over-indulgence, that only entitlement is actually cultivated.
Either way is a disservice to young people and will disable them in using
money in their lives. A lack of financial savvy will weaken any student's
ability to function in the world independently.
In reality, money is just a neutral tool of trade, that is -- before we attach
our confusing and sometimes fearful thoughts to it. There is nothing wrong
with money itself, but there are countless complications in dealing
with money. Many families never talk about money and ignore addressing the
subject completely, while other families might make money acquisition the main
measure of life. Neither of these approaches is useful to a child. Instead, by
taking a matter-of-fact view of money and carefully handling money with a child
throughout childhood you will give that child a better chance to handle life as it
really shows up.
In America, and in the world, many more families worry about having enough money
month to month, than not. Everyone must have enough money to survive and to be
able to live without the constant fear of lacking what is needed. In America, it
is said that most people live only three paychecks away from homelessness.
The problem is huge and needs to be addressed by the whole community. Unfortunately
the dwindling middle-class population, is becoming downgraded into the emerging
working poor class, as jobs in America are disappearing. The most immediate need
is stability for the children. Children must be given priority with food,
shelter, and safety. Otherwise, if fear dominates their lives then
joining gangs for protection and profit might seem like a feasible
career plan. This is a problem for the whole society to solve.
For wealthy families, we recommend a balanced financial education at home like
Warren Buffet's example. Buffet is America's second richest man. Buffet's example:
He buys the best education possible for his family and then leaves them all completely
with their own skills to live on -- without trust funds. He supports their education,
but it is up to them to make a living with what they can do for themselves.
He is donating his billions back to the cultures of the world for the common good.