Greed is an unattractive human trait. Greed disrupts relationships and reputations. Greed is not only about money, but is also about power and status. I have seen greed unfold right before my eyes throughout my childhood and adulthood. Apparently, the more people have the more they want and the less they want to give back. Unfortunately, when a parent portrays greedy behavior in front of their children, there is a chance their children will conduct themselves in the same manner. Children may be under the impression that greed is acceptable.
I have a family member who deliberately goes against his wife’s wishes and spends way too much money. His mentality is whatever he wants he will get — even if it means not paying a bill. Sadly, he has taught his teenage daughters to be the same way — greedy. He purchases everything and anything they want. They waste food, money and ask for clothes they never end up using.
I recall helping one of the teenage girls clean out her closet one summer. There was tons of clothing with tags on them that she out grew or simply didn’t like anymore. She was prepared to trash them. I was taken aback. As a child I was taught to donate clothes to charity. It doesn’t make sense to throw garments that are in good shape in to the trash when there are homeless people who can very well use them. I was unable to convince her to pack up the unwanted clothing. She was so spoiled that if she couldn’t have something or didn’t want something, no one else could have it.
Here are three of my suggestions to stop the greed:
Teach your children to not spend more than they can afford
This is an excellent opportunity to present your children with a budget. A budget will help them understand how valuable money is and how it should be used — bills first, save and then everything else.
Demonstrate appreciation for the things you have
As a parent, if you are grateful for the things you have — no matter how small it may be — your children will pick up on your positive attitude. They, too, will be grateful for what they have in their lives and not take anything for granted.
Donate money, unwanted clothes or time
Whenever you plan on cleaning your closets, ask your children to do the same. Show them that cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean throwing everything out. They may come across some good items that others in need can use.
When you have a little extra money, consider donating it to a charity of your choice or ask your children if they have a charity they would like to donate to.
If you have a little time during the weekend, have your kids join you in a community event or your local soup kitchen. Show them that giving to others is so much more gratifying then wanting things you may not need at the end of the day.
When you share and give back, you will send a positive message to your children. They will learn what it means to be grateful and appreciative for the things they have. At the same time, your children will understand how significant it is to give to those less fortunate.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.