As I write this article, we are over a year into the pandemic. With vaccinations on the rise, and our eye on the future, I’ve taken time to reflect on some of the benefits of the past year and slower pace of life.
I have been especially pondering the lessons children have learned during this extremely unusual time. I believe an ironic consequence of the pandemic will be greater happiness.
Many households will have learned gratitude. The opportunities and need to help those less fortunate during the pandemic have become more acute. Many children have dropped off food bank donations with their parents. Others have gone into neighborhoods to help spread the message of the value of vaccination. These experiences help us to teach children about other social and economic classes and experience the joy of helping others.
Take this a step further. Let these same children cherish the opportunity to reflect on their fortunate lives. Allow them to consider why they are on the giving end and what it might mean for their value systems and their future relationship with money.
All of us have had to put plans on hold during the pandemic, making their revival ever the more sweet when it comes. This can be applied to many life situations.
When your child desires something expensive, suggest they put money away each week toward their purchase. They will celebrate when their dream is realized, which will reinforce the value of delayed gratification. Discuss this experience as a life lesson. The more opportunity your child has to make valuable decisions, the more confident they will face the world independently.
Permit them to develop preferences for how they spend their money that might differ from yours. Our children’s limited allowances covered many things, including clothing, books, music, and snacks in our family. One purchased expensive hair supplies, while I was happy saving money using little hotel bottles brought home from business trips. When we delegated the responsibility to them, we became much better friends.
Appreciating Simple Joys
We have had to alter our list of activities during the pandemic. Many of us have rediscovered the joys of nature or free walks in the woods. Others have learned cooking skills and the fun of making a meal together. What wonderful ways to show your children that not all life’s pleasures cost money.
An Indelible Mark on their Future
When your child knows ways of finding happiness, it opens up more career possibilities. They will see that joy abounds in more altruistic professions and in helping others. They will find gratitude for the opportunities given to them to see life’s possibilities in many different ways.
Yale’s now-famous program on happiness was developed in response to the fact that the students lost their way to joy and gratitude. They created high expectations for material wealth and jobs with expected large salaries. The program went viral in the early days of the pandemic. If you have not taken advantage of this enlightening source of documented and scientific information, here is how to find this. It will be a mind changer, money-saving experience, and help with parenting the appropriation of a value system.
For more on this valuable and thought-provoking topic, read our blogs Learning Opportunities for Our Children During Lockdown and Valuable Lessons in Delayed Gratification.