That’s what one headline read when Sting told Daily Mail UK that he won’t be leaving his multi-million pound fortune for his six kids. Those words left a scowl on the faces of many people and had them wondering, why make millions if you’re not going to leave them for your children?
The problem here is that majority of the scowlers are Generation Y’ers — the generation of entitlement. The generation of people who were led to believe that anything was possible. The generation of people who set their expectations so high that reality simply could not meet the mark. The generation of yuppies who are the unhappiest by far.
But, as real life begins to emerge through the hazy dream world — that is, as these Generation Y’ers sell off their trendy lofts for a more practical home to house cribs, diaper genies, and all the baggage that comes with children — this generation is seeing value in hard work. Good, old-fashioned, scrubbing-the-bathtub-with-a-toothbrush kind of hard work.
In the celebrity world, it may be a growing trend. But, in the homes of many families, it’s an age-old lesson in life.
Parenting is full of teachable moments; we are constantly analyzing our actions and words with the mindset and intention to raise children who will be good people. That’s it — good people. Not educated. Not beautiful. Not even wealthy or successful. Just good people.
While the definition of ‘good’ people may differ from one parent to another, most will agree that good people have values. Teaching values is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ever. That’s because values aren’t taught like the alphabet. They aren’t recited or sung. They are imparted. They are imparted through actions, not words.
So, while there may be a sense of pride and accomplishment to leave behind estate and hard-earned riches for your children as many South Asians believe it to be, the growing sense of entitlement that is prevalent in younger generations becomes a disservice to those very children in the long run. The act of giving money to children (unless, of course, they are in need) sends a dangerous implicit message to children: you don’t need to work hard to earn money.
We can tell our children to be generous, to be kind, to be well-mannered, to work hard, but the truth is until we lead by example, our lessons will fall on deaf ears. However, little eyes are watching and internalizing. Always. The best way to teach our children then is to show them. Be generous. Be kind and well-mannered. And, work hard. It’s not just conventional wisdom; it’s been confirmed by scientific research over the years.
What media is portraying as ‘stingy’, ‘mean’, and ‘disservice to his children’ is in fact just the opposite. That’s where Sting (and so many parents before him) got it right. He won’t be handing over his multi-millions over to his children because he is a father who sees value in imparting values. He wants his children to learn the value of hard work, persistence, dedication, and the taste of victory after countless challenges.
That, to me, is priceless.
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