Another Financial Life Lesson... Teaching kids to value

Teaching kids about money is more than just teaching them about what money is or that you should spend, save and share... it's about helping them to understand that money is a commodity that can work for or against you and that the value of a dollar is as important as having that dollar.

Although this story doesn't specifically involve money, it does help children to understand value and I think it makes a great way to talk about value as a commodity! One of my blogger friends at It Feels Like Chaos shared an anecdote about Trick or Treating that struck a memory with me...

Her blog post included:
Just before it was finally time to go trick-or-treating we went over the rules. You know, rules like:

You must say thank you and it must be a loud thank you, if I don't hear you from where I'm standing at the street, it doesn't count!
Stay together!
No stepping off a curb into the street without Mommy or Daddy with you.
No eating the candy until Mommy or Daddy have looked at it first!


Yeah, we felt a little smug about our parenting, having so well prepped our children.

I knew something was up about 5 houses in when the man giving out candy started laughing at something Little Girl had said, but I was off the porch and couldn't hear what she'd said to make him laugh. Then a couple houses later I heard her say as she looked in a candy bowl that was handed to her to pick from, "Ewwww! No, chocolate is too messy! I don't want that!"

We didn't think to have the rule about not giving a commentary about the candy people were handing out!

Needless to say we had to stop right there and set the clear expectation that, "You do not complain about the kind of candy. You take whatever candy they give you and you say, 'Thank you'. And later at home you may be able to trade with your brothers or sister for different candy."
Growing up, that is exactly what we did - we'd come home from Trick or Treating and and dump all of our candy out for Mom and Dad to inspect, then we'd sit there and trade for things we liked or didn't like.  One of the advantages of being the oldest was that I had better negotiating skills than my siblings - at least for a while - and I used the theory that if you don't like something it has no value to you, so I should be able to get more of them from you for less... until the year my brother clued in and understood that the candy he didn't like actually had a fair amount of value to me... and he was losing out by not leveraging his own position to get what he wanted...  Being able to evaluate and walk away from a bad deal is a huge life lesson.  Being able to negotiate into a fair position is an even more important lesson!

Life lessons can happen in all kids of settings - teaching kids about sales, negotiation and standing up for themselves in a financial society can be life lessons that will help them to be more financially resourceful adults.

How do you combine teaching financial literacy with other values and lessons?  Check out this interesting article about Teaching Children the Value of a Dollar in a Debt-Filled World for another interesting perspective!

Disclaimer: This is a campaign with information sourced from Genworth Financial.