Between Generosity and Greed

There are few things more beautiful than generosity and few things uglier than greed.

If you’ve experienced generosity then you would know how inspiring and life giving it can be, but greed by contrast leaves you discontent and always wanting more.

One of my goals as a parent is to lead my kids towards generosity and to lead them away from greed.

Each holiday period we give our kids some pocket money. There isn’t a set amount. In fact my approach has been to ask them how much they they think they should recieve… I want them to think and discuss what is appropriate. Then I will give them that much or more.

I have two very different kids though. Sam is always going to be happy running lean with $$$ so he reckons anything over $20 is a win. Ellie however likes to ‘push it’ (can’t blame that trait on her mother I’m afraid) so when I ask her to think of a figure she thinks BIG.

‘Well… I’d like $200.00′ she said today.

So I reframe the question because I can see this isn’t working for her.

“So honey, consider,  what would be a fair amount? What would be me being generous and what would be you being greedy?…

We are still talking about it. (We have established that $500 would definitely be greedy…)

The deal is that the kids need to agree on a figure and I need to agree with them.

Up until this year it’s worked well to ask them for an amount. They have asked for fair amounts and I have been able to give them a bit more too.

But this year I can see greed and opportunism starting to bare it’s teeth in Ellie and I know that no matter how much I give her she will not be satisfied (and will only come back next holiday with a stupider amount.) If I give her what she asks for it will be a path to disappointment.

I want my kids to approach money thoughtfully and to recognise the difference between generosity and greed. So I’m curious to see how this one unfolds.

I doubt Sam will struggle significantly with this issue as he gets older, but I’m fairly confident Ellie will, so my take is that they will need different approaches to help then develop healthy attitudes towards money.

My hope for my kids is that both will be able to live very generous, greed free lives, but the challenge will be to help them find a path to that place.

Not sure of what route we will take yet, but such is the fun of parenting…




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