What Kind of Example Are You Setting?

What Kind of Example Are You Setting?

Kids are like sponges. They are constantly observing and soak up everything you do and say whether you recognize it or not.

As a parent of 2 young kids, I’ve started to realize the importance of your actions because you’re the example for your kids. They’ll become their own person but they’ll also develop many of the traits you exemplify. That’s why you have to walk the walk in all things and especially when it comes to finances.

The older I get the more I see and appreciate my parents and the examples they were. With regards to finances, I definitely picked up on a few of the habits they had whether they noticed it or not. I clearly didn’t realize it at the time but as I become more aware of my habits, I can’t help but reflect and recognize that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

We didn’t talk about money all that much growing up but my parents set the example through their actions.

I’m starting to realize there are several habits I have that I probably picked up from my parents along the way that impact our finances.

-Homemade Lunch-
I rarely saw my parents go out to eat for lunch. The town we grew up in was pretty small which allowed my parents to come home for lunch every day. They didn’t necessarily pack their lunch but would both come home and make sandwiches or eat left overs. I’m not sure if they had money in mind when doing this but it’s something I definitely have carried over into my working life. I’m not able to go home for lunch but I do pack my lunch. I rarely eat out at lunch unlike most of my colleagues and this saves our family a ton of money.

-Yard Work-
Pay to have someone mow your yard or do your landscaping? Not in our house growing up. My parents were the do-it-yourselfers. They mowed, planted flowers, planted trees, did landscaping, racked leaves, trimmed trees, etc. I’m not sure it ever crossed their minds to pay someone to do these things. I’ve followed in their footsteps in this area, although sometimes begrudgingly. North Texas summers can get pretty hot and it’s awfully enticing to consider paying someone to do this work but I haven’t succumbed to the desire. We do our own yard work and landscaping.

-Home Cooking-
We enjoy cooking at home and making delicious healthy meals. We involve our daughter because she is old enough to help in small ways and she enjoys being a part of the process. My parents did a lot of cooking at home and especially making dinner for the entire family. We ate dinner at home and sat as a family around the table most nights. This is definitely something my wife and I strive to do for our family as well. Cooking at home saves us money and provides the quality time as a family we covet.

-Household Chores-
Dusting, mopping, scrubbing toilets, vacuuming, etc.; these were all tasks that were completed by the household when I grew up. Most of these chores were done by my parents but as my sister and I got older and were able to push a vacuum, we started to get involved. Similarly, we clean our own house now. It does take time and effort but we hope we’re setting a good example for our kids like our parents did for us. In full disclosure, we have hired someone in the past to do a deep clean but that has been few and far between. If we could hire someone to just clean bathrooms and shower glass doors, I think my wife would be all over that!

-Care For Your Things-
My parents took care of what they owed. If you were going to have nice things you were expected to take care of those nice things. My parents washed and maintained their cars. They took pride in keeping up the yard and making sure our house was in good shape and looked nice. They made the bed every day, cleaned dishes, and decluttered living spaces and kitchen counter tops. This healthy respect for caring for your things trickled down to me as well. They simply took care of what they owned which made the things they owned last longer. They set a great example in this regard. It’s important for us to take care of the things we have. That’s part of how you get the most value out of what you own.

-Live Within Your Means-
This may be one of the most important of the financial examples our parents could have set for us. Our parents didn’t spend extravagantly. They were okay telling us kids “no” when they needed to. They made sound purchases and never seemed to let on that there was a money problem or that our finances were tight. As kids, we never felt deprived and I think that shows what great stewards our parents were with their money. We currently try to live by this example. We live within our means and at times below our means so we can save more. We don’t spend extravagantly on things we can’t afford. We pay cash and don’t carry balances on credit cards. We do spend but when we do we make sure it brings value to our family.

We have learned and continue to learn so much from our parents. We learn directly and indirectly from them. Being parents, we now recognize that we are models for our kids. We are the example that they will rely on as they grow up and start to make decisions for themselves.

We want to make sure we’re walking the walking and set good examples for them.

6 thoughts on “What Kind of Example Are You Setting?

  1. Couldn’t agree more with all these points.

    *walks out on lawn and starts shaking fist*

    These days so much of the younger generation, myself included, are told that we are too busy to keep up with household chores, to cook, to take the time to do basic tasks. When in reality our time is taken up by mindless time sinks. I agree 100% with setting an example for your children and hope I can do the same for mine. Don’t make these things something they feel obligated to do but make them something they can take pride in and recognize value from.

    *ceases yelling at clouds and goes back inside*

    1. Thanks for the comment! Living purposefully and understanding that there are tradeoffs to everything is crucial. Raising kids and setting a good example for them can be so hard but we just try to keep things simple and fun. It’s amazing what you start to realize about your childhood when you have kids of your own and you’re trying to raise them the best you can.

  2. It’s amazing the habits that we pick up from our parents. I never realized how the little things influenced me over the years until it struck me. My Dad always ate lunch out and I do the same thing. I always thought why is he spending the money but now I realize that he used it to network as well as recharge. I do the same thing and while it’s a bit expensive, I have rearranged the budget so that I can do this since it’s important to me 🙂

    1. There’s a cost benefit to everything and the most important thing is that you do things mindfully and with a purpose. You don’t just go through life willy nilly without understanding what you’re wanting to achieve or without a goal in mind. We are always striving for balance!

  3. I always strive to be setting a good example for my kids – cooking at home, responsible money management, and showing them through my actions and “teachable moments” the right way to handle money. I only hope they look back on these experiences as adults and feel happy that they learned these lessons, and not upset that they didn’t get more stuff when they were young. 😉

    1. I was always taught growing up that “actions speak louder than words”. The older I get the more I understand and appreciate this and find it to be true. It’s something we try to live by and it sounds like you do the same.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

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