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Teaching the Value of Something

In today's world, things don't operate anywhere near the same as in the past. Society has changed, and so have general rules, and with that acceptances.

If I could make one generalization, I would say that kids of today have it much easier, on average, than kids of past generations. I can even look at myself, and hearing about what my parents had to do, I didn't have to do nearly as much. Yes, I did have chores that needed to be done, but no I didn't have an allowance. I was asked to do something, and was expected to do those tasks.

From talking with my students, many of them do not have these same responsibilities, yet many still do get an allowance. I knew of children my age that did get an allowance when I was growing up. It was usually like $5 a week. I hear of students I have now getting $20-$50 a week! And they don't have to do anything. Yes, money doesn't grow on trees.

I'm not saying that if you're doing this you should stop, but what are they learning from this is more where I'm headed. What are they learning by getting $20-$50 a week for doing nothing? They are learning that money is given to them for nothing, and they lose the value of earning it. They lose the message behind value.

Value- n relative worth, utility, or importance : degree of excellence

There is an importance in learning what VALUE means. It is important to learn how to value something. If everything is given to you, and you don't have to earn anything, you are not going to appreciate things the same as if YOU earn it.

Example - This past year I had a great example shown to me, that just shocked me. I student came to school with a brand new pair of jeans. All they did to show me that they didn't value them was write on them with a black pen by the knee. What could we conclude by witnessing that?

If an item is sentimental to you, you place a different value on it than someone else would. There are items on this earth that have great sentimental value to people. Pictures, antiques, letters, etc... What something is worth to one person may vary greatly to another person.

How can we teach the value of something to children, or even people? Some don't seem to have a concept for how much something is worth.

1) First talk with them about the fact that some things may be important to one person and not to another. Some people value different things. Use the word value with them, and give examples.

2) Explain with them how money works. Talk about how it is earned, where it comes from, the basic principles of it.

3) Build your child's money skills. Play games that involve money, such as Monopoly, Payday. Also teach them equivalents. Yes, money is taught in school, but money skills aren't.

4) If they make a poor decision regarding value, talk with them about it. Find out why they did what they did. See things from their perspective before you react.

5) Give them a small allowance. It should give them the chance to buy smaller items. Young kids shouldn't be walking around with $100, but I've seen it.

On one final thought... should you pay your child for A's? or B's? Should children earn money for getting good grades? I never did. My thoughts... if it works, use it. If it doesn't, don't. Still, I have seen students in the hall with over $50 in their wallet/purse/pocket, showing it off to other students. Why do they need that much money on them, and why isn't it in a bank?