Monday, April 11, 2011

"Teach Children To Save Day"

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Teach Children To Save Day. I admit it isn't a 'day' I was aware of until I saw it on my calendar. But then there are many special days now. (Yesterday was National Siblings Day.) This day was begun in 1997 by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation to provide programs which lead to financial literacy. Banks across the country are encouraged to participate locally. The goal is to reach five million students by the end of 2011. (The First National Bank in Creston and Iowa State Savings Bank [where I bank and my niece, Kristi, works,] are both participating.) While I believe it does help to have the resources of a national foundation and local banks involved in educating young people about the importance of saving, the number one source of importance is parents. Which prompts me to ask: "Did I do a good job of teaching my children about money?" What is that old saying about good intentions...? I tried. I tried to give my little ones an allowance which they would learn to work for. Then, I could encourage them to save at least part of it toward buying a bigger ticket item they really wanted instead of spending it all at once. There was a time or two I actually started savings accounts at a bank for them. But some emergency always came along and I would have to raid their accounts. (Being a single parent had its challenges.) Perhaps not having money to hand them was a good thing - by the time they were teenagers, they were working and earning their own. This picture of us was taken when Doug was eleven, Kari, four and Preston, two. With his permission, I'm using a poem Doug wrote a few days ago. It speaks to that time in our lives and what money meant to him. The Soda Bottle Kid

Coaster brake on his blue bike wheel,

Dust rose, dirt road, skid to a stop.

The sunlight's dew gleaming at his heel,

The prize, the green glass, empty bottle of pop.

No money in pocket, no copper, nor tin.

A journey for bottles to earn a nickel or a dime.

Worn shirt, too large jeans, held fast with a pin,

A playing card on his spokes, keeping the time.

One then, two, three more by the tracks,

Two more at the pool, down in the park.

Looking in trash cans, Stuffing bottles in his pack,

Sunshine, a breeze, a chasing dog's bark.

To the store with his load, down the road it's not far.

He grins at the grocer, stacks them up for his pay.

Heads home to his mom, puts his money in the family jar.

Poor again, but happy, for tomorrows another day.


I have to admit that when I read his poem, I teared up. I may not have excelled at teaching my kids about money, but I must have done something right.

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