His Priorities Are Fine, Until They Aren’t Mine

operationheadphoneAlpha Tween has a dream.

Well, probably many, but the one I am thinking about involves saving enough money for a pair of Beats by Dre.

For those of you who are not “hip” those are really, REALLY nice headphones. I have a pair and they are fantastic.

They are also not cheap.

So when AT said that not only did he want them, but that he wanted to buy them with money he earned we knew it was a tall order but also thought it was a great idea.

It’s been a long haul so far, but he’s learning about saving money (we also make him save 5-10% of what he earns through chores and projects to go in the bank), setting goals, how to achieve them and how to long you have to work to do so.

He’s also learning about priorities. One of his other goals was the buy the game Minecraft for the laptop the kids have.

That cost about $27. He chose a while back to buy the game, which decimated his pile of Beats money, probably taking it down by 50-75%.

I talked to him about it, made sure he knew that it would set him back in reaching his first goal and then let him buy the game.

So here we are now, mid-summer, and now he’s considering buying a new 3DS (that’s a hand held game system for you non-hip folks again) as his current DS is dying a tragic and lingering death.

Money-in-the-AirAs a new 3DS is going to cost him as much—if not more—than the Beats were going to, I was talking to him again about how significantly that choice would set him back.

And as we were talking, I was concerned and I couldn’t figure out why.

Why do I care what he’s spending his money on? It’s his money, he earned it and ultimately unless he wants to spend it on something harmful to himself or others (an AK-47 or rail gun for instance) he should be able to spend it on what he wants.

Hell, if he wants to buy $200 worth of candy, that’s his money. He’ll have to learn to live with the consequences, just as he will if he spends the money elsewhere.

Isn’t that the point my wife and I are making? That you can choose to do what you will with your money but you’re the one who deals with the consequences?

Which is when it hit me—this isn’t as much about me worrying about him as it is me not being to understand his choices.

I mean, I have no real interest in a DS, right? If it were me, I’d buy the headphones and call it good.

Which is probably what The Wife said when I—er Santa—gave us a Playstation for Christmas.

I’m sure she couldn’t quite grasp why we didn’t just get something else she might think is more important.

So when the kid comes home this evening, we’ll sit down and talk. Because as important as learning responsibility and hard work is, he also needs to learn that just because someone else wouldn’t do what he’s doing doesn’t mean you should do something different.

And just because someone spends their money in a way you wouldn’t, doesn’t mean they’re wrong or you’re wrong.

It’s so easy to let others influence your choices, especially when you’re a kid. It’s difficult to do something the crowd might disapprove of. And it can be really hard for a boy to do something his father tells him isn’t a good idea, even if he disagrees.

While listening to the opinions of others can be important, just because they disagree doesn’t mean you have to do what they would.

Apparently that’s still something I’m working on and something I’ll have to consider when speaking to my kids about the choices they make.

I’ll have to always make sure to tread lightly.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?


1 Response to “His Priorities Are Fine, Until They Aren’t Mine”

  1. 1 Lauren
    July 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    This is beautifully stated. Thank you for the reminder. I needed to hear it today.

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