June 25, 2016

“Awan kwarta tayo, daytoy matak sukitem, isu igatang mo!!!” (We don’t have money. Here are my eyes, dig them away. Use them to buy your stuff!!!)

eyes and money

Sounds familiar?

Have you heard this line while you were growing up?

Until now I couldn’t understand why eyes are used metaphorically to represent money. Is it because our eyeballs are round that they replicate the shape of a coin?

But this line is so magical that when a child hears this he immediately understands that there is no way he can let his parents buy that stuff from the store for him. Because how could he blind his parents in exchange for that toy car from the store? How could he carry that guilt all his life?

But wait a minute. In yelling this line to a child after seeing you took that money from your pocket to buy a kilo of rice, then saw you put the change back to your pocket, what could be the thought playing in the child’s mind?

Let’s take a look at the short analysis below.

Most kids reaction when they see bills and coins?: We have a lot of money

Most parents reaction when their children want something from the store (mostly toys):  Walang Pera (no money)

Child’s confusion: (In mind) How come we don’t have money? I just saw you counted the bills and put them in your pocket.

Child’s conclusion: (In mind) We have money but mom doesn’t want to spend it for me.

Child’s Reaction: Throws tantrums at the middle of the store embarrassing his parents

Result: Parents will finally buy the toy even after telling their child they don’t have money to avoid embarrassment from the prying onlookers.

Child’s thought: (In mind with a grimace face) I told you so, we have money.

…Then this scenario continues as the child grows, the tantrums are turned to blackmails like…awan met gayam kwarta tayo, ket di ak latta garuden agiskwela a (Well, we don’t have money? I better not go to school then). Until the poor parents will do their best to produce the money being asked.

Let me tell you a short story about this family that I have known for years.

children and money

This is a family of four. The couple have two kids. The mother is so organized with their family expenses. There are times that the mother cooked adobong mani (deep fried peanuts) and let her children sell them to school. Then after school, the children go home remitting the collection to their mom. They sat down to count the coins. The mom then asked how much gains did they have that day.

Do you know what the mom did with the gains?

What she did was amazing.

She sat with her girls then asked them of their goals. She asked them what they want to spend their money on. Of course what they wanted were very costly like mobile phone, branded shoes. So, the mom encouraged her girls to save the gains of their peanut bussiness.

It became funny that the girls wouldn’t even dare to eat their own paninda (goods) or even dared to spend their collection even though they really, really wanted to. What they used to do is to wait for their grandpa or grandma to give them money to buy their own paninda.

The girls are always involved in their family’s major purchases. The girls at a very young age understand where their money comes and where their money goes. The girls see how their family money comes from their parents’ hard work and how this money is budgeted and spent.

This is not a make believe story.

So, as the girls grow, they know how to value every penny that their parents are giving them, the gifts of money they receive from their ninongs and ninangs (God parents) on special holidays and how they put these gifts in their savings account.

It is not impossible that the girls will also get into investments like stock market investment if they will be given enough guidance on this kind of wealth vehicle as they finish school in the future.

I am not a parent yet. But I grew up hearing the lines, sukitem daytoy matak… (Dig my eyes away)…

I’m not saying my parents are bad but the lack of financial literacy pushes many parents to do the same.

I grew up thinking that my parents have money but they just don’t want to spend it for me. I only came to understand their financial struggles when I was in high school. Thus when I went to college, I tried my best to sign myself up with any scholarship available at the university and pushed myself to be a working student in the university’s library for one summer to help my parents lighten their financial burden.

So, let me end this blog with a question:

Should you involve your kids or kids to be in your family’s money talk?

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