Tag Archives: Poverty

Money-Grubbing Moochers


Money. Money. Money. Money. Money. Money.

There. I said it. Money. Like sex, money is something parents need to keep talking about with their little dudes and dudettes.

For something so many dudes and dudettes stress out about so much, money is an interestingly semi-taboo subject. Does anyone feel comfortable discussing how much you paid for a high-ticket item with, for instance, your neighbor? Like telling her how much you spent on that landscaping?

Do you want to try and justify the sparkling upgrades you paid for on your new phone with your dad?

Heck, many companies will do just about anything to prevent employees from knowing how much the other people with whom they work are actually making every other week. Although, I’m sure that’s less out of the taboo nature of money and more because the company doesn’t want someone to compare paychecks and realize they’re being appallingly shortchanged by working for the company.

Still, despite the uncomfortable nature of discussions of wealth or the lack thereof, it’s something we as parents need to talk to our young dudes and little dudettes about early and often.

When they little dudes are babies (and shouldn’t you be out purchasing another copy of A Dude’s Guide to Babies right about now ?It’s the perfect Christmas present for the new dad or dad-to-be. Go buy it. Now.*) there’s not much call for them to understand about money.

However, as they start growing older and understanding that there are different ways with which they can interact with the world, knowing what money is, where it comes from and how it works becomes more and more important.

When the little dudettes are toddlers, they think they know all about how the world works. Ask mom or dad for that thing you want and, in the fullness of time, it shall be given to you. From this perspective, Mom and Dad pretty much own everything in the world and it’s only a matter of asking for them to give it to the little dude at the right time.

Which can be, frankly, a pretty dangerous perspective to have.

And that makes the fact that they pretty much keep thinking this sort of thing straight through to their middle teens a horrifying proposition. Of course, they can be trained to forget this mistaken impression, but it’s going to be tough and it mostly involves a lot of tears and runny noses. Sometimes the little dude will tear up a bit as well.

Seriously, one of the best ways to teach your young dudette the power of money is to say — early, often and loud — no to requests for, well, just about anything. Don’t make the mistake I might have done and say to the kid, “I’ll give you this, but, in return, you need to do that.”

Go with that sort of logic and you’ll soon have a child with an armful of this, but be waiting forever for that to get done. Young dudes need to start working just like the world does (or should). That is, if they want something, they have to pay for it (be it through actual money or through sweat equity) before they can get it.

Whether or not the child gets an allowance is something parents need to work out for themselves. Included in the discussion is whether the young dude gets an allowance no matter what, or if money is earned from chores done, or if there is a baseline allowance and they can earn extra bucks with more chores. That sort of thing.

If the young dudes don’t feel the occasional pinch of poverty, they’re going to grow up with some severely whacked ideas about how money works. And, considering how easily almost anyone can get a credit card these days, that can be a very dangerous thing, indeed.

Money talk: important.

We’ll talk more tomorrow on a specific aspect of that discussion, namely what to say when your kid asks you how much money you have.



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Independence Day: Library For All

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

Normally, I’d take this as a day off so I could be outside blowing stuff up with my young dudes. And, realistically, I will be doing that. However, I wanted to talk first a little about a different kind of independence.

The independence that knowledge brings, and how our modern world can bring itself to the doorstep of anyone. You can help educate the world. You know I’m a huge believer in the healing power of education. I believe, and science will back me up on this, that better education can reduce crime rates, foster a better sense of self, inspire self-confidence, create jobs, raise people out of poverty. All of that.

And with out flourishing market for tablets and e-readers, we have the capability to bring that education to anywhere in the world. No longer would we have to cart a two-ton set of Encyclopedia Britannica around, only to watch the pages moulder in the heat and humidity. We can bring that entire set, plus every single other book in the Library of Congress, on a single e-reader.

The world’s knowledge in the palm of your hand.

Which is why I’m talking to you today about Library for All: A digital library for the developing world, which is a Kickstarter project, which still is short of its goal, that is designed to bring a library of world knowledge to the very poorest people, those most in need of the ameliorating effects of education.

From the project designers: We are harnessing the power of technology, and mobile phone networks found across the developing world, to give low-cost access to a digital library of relevant content. 

The library brings together content from Open Source providers and top global publishers. It is designed for low-bandwidth environments through the use of a local network topology. The platform is designed to be device agnostic. That means it can be accessed via mobile phones, e-readers or even low-cost tablets.

This is a worthy effort here, dudes. It NEEDS your support. Even a few dollars, every few dollars helps. The fine folks running this program have only a little more than 8 days left to make their funding goal. They’re still short. The even better news is that donating to Library For All is tax deductible. It can actually help you, when you help others.

On this Independence Day for America, why not give a little of yourself to support the independence of the rest of the world. Education is something worth fighting for. Education is something that can make fighting itself a relic of the past.

Education is the pathway to a better future. Donate. Become a backer. It’s not hard. Ten minutes, tops. That’s all it takes to help spread the independence we so treasure to others around the world.

Independence, freedom, can never be given to someone. It must be earned. Help them earn their freedom, to earn independence from poverty and oppression.

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More Young Mothers Aren’t Wives

by Richard

It’s a big step. If you listen to certain hysterical voices, it’s a big step out over a very long fall into a rock-filled canyon. What I’m talking about are babies, and to whom they’re born.

According to a recent survey, more than half of all births to U.S. women under the age of 30 are born to women who aren’t married. I’m not talking about not married to the baby daddy. I’m talking about not married at all.

Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the past two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.

Among mothers of all ages, a majority – 59 percent in 2009 – are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women – nearly two-thirds of U.S. children are born to mothers younger than 30 – is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.

Oddly, one group of women under 30 that has resisted this trend seems to be college-educated women. Overwhelmingly, women who have graduated from college still are getting married before they’re having babies. Which seems to be leading to a sort of financial divide: those who can afford college get married and then get babies. Those who can’t afford it, have babies and then might or might not get married.

I’m not going to get all preachy on you and say that a baby must have a mother and a father to have any sort of chance to turn out all right. However, on average, I really do consider having at least two parents available to a young dude to be the optimal configuration for childrearing. That’s not a moral stance, it’s just with at least two adults around, there’s a better chance that the young dudette will be getting a lot of supervision, a lot of hugging and a lot of direction from a family member, not someone hired to do the job.

I’m not alone in this opinion, I know. I also know that science tends to back me up on this. Researchers have consistently found that American children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering from emotional and behavioral problems.

Again, I’m not saying that any young dude raised by a single mother is guaranteed a spot on the down escalator — I’ve known too many loving, dedicated single mothers to ever consider that — but not every mother is an exceptional mother. Having a second pair of hands around, as long as they’re loving, supportive and caring hands, can only be a good thing.

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