We do not need to spend money to make a substantive impact in the lives of our children and their friends.
In a previous blog post, I introduced Baba Ike and shared my reasoning for letting go of the negative association many people have between money and children.
Baba Ike’s example of giving his money and time freely changed my life. He was and is very important to me.
As beautiful as my experience with Baba Ike was, there was and is one man who has had the most significant impact on life . . . my father. Both men, and many others, left valuable examples; yet their styles were so different. At Baba Ike’s house, we were usually going to participate in some activity—a museum, a movie, or an amusement park. As previously mentioned, Baba Ike always paid.; as far as I was concerned, money was not an issue.
My father was very different, yet very impactful. My father was/is an artist and entrepreneur. He rarely took my siblings and/or my friends and me to the movies or an amusement park. He was constantly working as an artist and running his business. However, I spent a great deal of time with him. The time I spent with him included helping him with the business, delivering his product to local businesses, and taking care of family errands and members. My time spent with both of these men was drastically different, yet both provided care and love.
I’ve already encouraged you to give freely of your money to your children and their friend. Yet there is more—there are resources we can give our children that don’t cost money. We can give our expertise, our counsel, and our examples.
It was the norm for my friends and me to spend time with my father as he cared for my grandmother. We took her where she needed to go, and she came with us wherever we needed to go. This taught us to care for and include our seniors.
I spent many days and nights talking with, being challenged by, challenging, disagreeing with, and even arguing with my father about various events and/or philosophies. It was great and critical to my development. I learned integrity, ethics, and debating.
I worked side by side helping my father draft invoices and box up orders. I learned entrepreneurship and hard work. And though my father was not wealthy, he did not make money a big issue. He did the best that he could, and if he had it, we had it. Numerous times I heard him ask my grandmother, siblings, friends, family, or me, “Do you need any money?” And when we went grocery shopping, he said, “Get something that you want.”
The point is that our time is a valuable resource that can overcome money challenges. Let’s give our children and their friends our time, our love, conversation, expertise, experiences, integrity, ethics, perspective, and so many other valuable pieces of our lives.
As an aside, I am 48 years old. I met my closest friend the summer before my senior year in high school. We have been friends ever since through many ups and downs. Years ago we were talking, and he shared, “What I appreciated about you, even back then, was how much you demonstrated your care for your family. You were always around them, and they were always around you.” I remain this way, and it was my father’s basic framework of family orientation that molded me then and defines me now. I learned the value of time spent with family and friends.
We do not need to simply spend money to influence and impact the lives of our children and their friends. Let’s consider releasing the concept that children are financial burdens and interact with them using the resources we do have. If we sow our time now, we may be surprised at the rewards we reap in the years to come.
Frank Love coaches individuals who are in (or wish to be in) a relationship on ways to be more loving. He is also the author of “Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway)” and “25 Ways to Be Loving.” To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.