The Power Of Money- The End of The Innocence

I stood inside the gym shooting baskets and listened to her giggle. She counted down 5…4…3…2…1 and then I launched a series of shots from all around the basket. She didn’t care whether they went in or not. Half the time she was barely paying attention but when she was she clapped and cheered for me and I smiled.

What can I say, my children make me smile. Sometimes they make me crazy, but most of the time they make me smile. They are a big part of why I do what I do and a central part of why I have been blogging for so many years. This joint is chock full of stories about them.

Last weekend we had a tea party for my daughter’s birthday party. She and a group of her friends went to town with this. I watched these little girls do their best to imitate their moms and big sisters. Dressed in hats they drank from real China tea cups, ate little sandwiches and engaged in girl talk. I don’t know everything they dicussed, but that is because I was told that boys had to leave the room.

As I walked away I heard them all giggling and I wondered what life would look like in about five or six years. A million different thoughts flashed through my mind and I remembered the 4.5 year-old version of my daughter asking me why Ken and Barbie didn’t look like real people.

I have that Tumbleweed Crossing feeling inside my head now. That is because today was the last day of school.

Big Changes

I am fairly certain that some big changes are about to take place for my family. My children have attended one school. They started there in preschool and then moved on up through the ranks. And now I look back at snapshots in time and remember what it was like the night before my son started kindergarten.

In a corner of the living room my father, grandfather and I shared stories about what school was like for us. The kindergarten classes of 1919, 1948 and 1974 recounted tales that in some ways will not be so different from the class of 2006.

Six years later the kindergarten class of 1919 is only remembered in spirit and the class of 2006 is entering middle school.

He is old enough now to ask more sophisticated questions about school and life in general. He wants me to explain the fundamental differences between schools so that he can determine whether he thinks a private school education is more valuable than public. He asks me if I ever regret not becoming a doctor or deciding not to go to law school.

That is because he views those professions as being ones that provide a healthy paycheck and he thinks that maybe money would help provide additional opportunities. I tell him that is right about some of it, money can provide additional opportunities but I remind him that there is more to life than money.

We are unlikely to ever be the poorest or the wealthiest family. We’ll end up somewhere in the middle. He nods his head and I know that he understands. I don’t have any doubts that he and his sister will adapt and thrive wherever they go next year.

It Is An Adventure

I tell the kids that life is an adventure and that it doesn’t have to make sense. We all have our filters that influence our experiences which is part of why I laugh when people say they are telling me like it is.

What that really means to me is making sure my children understand that when I refer to a question of dignity it is because I want them to treat people well and not like garbage. I want them to understand what it is like to be a good friend.

I don’t know if they realize how many different life experiences they have had. They have confronted death more than once and learned about letting go. I am working on making sure they learn to know their own worth because it is exceptionally important.

But I would be lying if I said that a part  of me wished that I could protect their innocence from some of these things just a little bit longer.

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21 Comments

  1. Cathy May 19, 2015 at 3:04 am

    My children are now long grown, and I am watching them parent my grandkids. It makes me feel good to see that I managed to raise kids in the Deep South who are tolerant, kind, and have good values. I hope my grandkids will learn the same lessons. You don’t have to be rich. The most valuable gift you give your kids is your time. Good post Jack.

    • Jack May 19, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Cathy,

      I am not even close to being a grandfather but I am certain you are right about time, definitely lived enough to see the importance and merit in that.

      In some ways the hardest part of this time of my life is trying to stop racing long enough to spend time with my family where I am not distracted.

      • cathyjonest May 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        I find the same to be true with my grands Jack. I didn’t start working as a nurse until my youngest was grown, but have missed time with the grands because of it. It’s a fine line and hard to balance, because while you are trying to spend time with them, you have to find time for yourself. Something I haven’t always succeeded at doing.

  2. richescorner June 16, 2012 at 7:00 am

    My son is only 3, but he’s in pre-school. He’s just at that age where I realize that he’s going to be changing schools within the next couple of years and I worry about how he’ll deal with the change. I want to foster the trait in him to have the self esteem to withstand the disruption of the change.

    • TheJackB June 16, 2012 at 7:17 am

       @richescorner Three is a great age, I loved it with both of my kids. Well, I didn’t like their proclivity for saying no, but… 😉
       
      Anyway, I think that a lot of what happens to our kids depends on how we act or react to situations. Teach them that change isn’t a bad thing and they will respond.

  3. Craig McBreen June 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Jack,
     
    My oldest is 18 … 18!! but I have so many great memories with both kids. The little moments you never forget. (Okay that sounded sappy, but sorry it’s me and I’m like that).
     
    Anyway. One of the most important things you can do with your kids is to keep an open line of communication going (start early and see if you can keep it going through the teenage years for those times will take a few years off your life ;)) It sounds to me like you’re doing all the right things, esp. teaching them to treat others with respect. Not enough of that.

    • TheJackB June 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

       @Craig McBreen 
      Hi Craig,
       
      Sappy is ok with me. I do it too.
       
      I hear you about the open lines of communication. That makes a lot of sense to me and it is something that I am working on. Have to admit it is hard to imagine having an 18 year-old. 
       
      My oldest is 11.5 so I know that we’ll get there one day, but I am willing to wait. As for teaching respect, well I am trying to do so. It is something that is worth more than our kids realize.

  4. Jens June 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am so glad that my son is still young. He’s currently watching The Lion King 2 on DVD, and that’s all he wants to do again and again 🙂

  5. Late_Bloomers June 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Jack, you are doing one hell of a job as a parent, I mostly was a single parent, too. What money cannot buy is love, friendship and trust. Loss of innocence, what innocence? By keeping things under lock, who are we to decide what is an adult issue or a child issue? My daughter had her share of loss and learning how to let go at an early age but I hope she always knew and felt that her family was a constant of love and trust.
     

    • TheJackB June 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

       @Late_Bloomers Hi Barbara,
       
      Love, friendship and trust are simply invaluable. We do the best we can with what we have and then we place some faith in our kids and human nature.

  6. Mark_Harai June 14, 2012 at 7:10 am

    @theshepTSG Cheers Neil, thanks for the shout sir!

  7. GoKingsGo June 14, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Great post. Kids do grow up it seems now differently than we did, or previous generations. Their questions will be influenced more by technology that is swirling around them.  I do think think the loss of innocence is something we should try and avoid as long as possible though, there just is no need to for them to grow up too fast, and staying innocent as a child is a good thing, as it relates to adult issues. Of course that does not mean keeping them in a hermetically sealed room, just not throwing your hands up as CrossBetsy is doing by claiming one cannot control that loss of innocence.

    • CrossBetsy June 14, 2012 at 5:06 am

      Wow! “throwing my hands up”? Let’s be clear. I don’t hover, and don’t claim I have a magic shield either. That was unfair!

    • TheJackB June 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

       @GoKingsGo You can’t control the loss of innocence unless you do lock them up. As soon as you let them go out into the world (read school) they start to learn things at a pace that might be different than the one you want them on.

  8. CrossBetsy June 14, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Know what’s cool about kids? They pick up on the truth behind your words (the truth for you, that is). Or at least they grasp the hope that you are trying to hold on to.
    I’m not as concerned about a loss of innocence (can’t control that one) as I am of them becoming jaded. I hope to stay one step ahead of them, enticing them to see the value in the things that money can’t buy but that keep us spiritually nourished, so that when and if they experience adversity it won’t destroy their hope for happiness.
    …like enjoying Dad shooting hoops…easy and free. Those memories will last.

    • TheJackB June 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

       @CrossBetsy Jaded is a real concern. Some of my children’s friends have gotten so much so early they don’t appreciate what they have or recognize that life could be really different for them.

  9. Faryna June 14, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I still remember that line from Jack’s post, What Kind Of Friend Are You?
     
    “I want my children to understand that being a good friend means there are times where you drop what you are doing and lend a hand.”
     
     

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