Category Archives: Parrenting

An Ode to the child

To my child

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and won’t stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald’s and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my fingers through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children’s graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can’t handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day………….

10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me:by Shanel Yang

Shanel Yang – Easy Steps to Success » Blog Archive » 10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me

10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me
Friday, November 16th 2007 by Shanel Yang

We all wish our parents could have taught us some things better than they did. In my case, quite honestly, it was a lot of things. I understand my parents had bigger problems when our family first came to this country, like making sure we had enough food to eat and a safe place to live.

But, once we had these basic necessities, they thought their work as parents was done. Looking back, I wish they had provided more useful advice about life. But why stop there? As long as I’m wishing, I wish my dad—who was the undisputed ruler of our family—had taken an active interest in preparing me and my sisters for the many challenges of life.

Granted, my father was not a highly educated man. The highest grade he reached was the sixth grade. But, for the first 20 years of my life, he acted like he knew everything under the sun and taught me things with such authority and conviction that I rarely questioned his teachings until it was almost too late. I wish he had used that god-like power over me to teach me the following 10 lessons instead:

1. Why Saving Money Is Important
2. Why Investing Money Is Important
3. Why Having the Right Friends Is Important
4. Why Dating a Lot Is Important
5. Why Formal Education Is Important
6. Why Experiencing Different Jobs Is Important
7. Why Having Your Own Business Is Important
8. Why Making Mistakes Is Important
9. Why Not Quitting Is Important
10. Why Having Fun Is Important

In this article, I give the advice I wish my dad gave me regarding each of the above 10 topics and also share some of the bad advice he did give me because I believe you may have received some similarly bad advice from your parents, teachers, or friends. For me, knowing how bad advice adversely affected my life helps me change some deep-seated beliefs that can still create stumbling blocks to my success if I’m not careful.

Since people are most likely to take advice if we both understand and like the explanations given for it, I have phrased each of the 10 pieces of advice in the form of “why it is important.”

1. WHY SAVING MONEY IS IMPORTANT

Advice I Wish He Gave Me: “Saving money is important because it gives you security. If you have enough of it saved, you don’t need to worry about becoming homeless, unemployed, or starving. Don’t rely on others to give you what you need or want, or to help you out in your times of need. Nine times out of ten, they won’t. Put that money into a savings account earning the highest interest possible, and never touch it except for a real emergency. That means no shopping sprees! The more you save, the more secure you will be, but $1,000 is a good start.”

My dad never taught me to save money. He controlled all the money in our family, which all came from his little welding shop near downtown L.A. My mom, sisters, and I all had to ask and sometimes beg for cash whenever we wanted to buy something. He always made us explain exactly what it was we wanted and why. Although he usually gave it to us in the end, he still had to make it absolutely clear that he could have said, “No.”

He paid all the bills, always complaining about the high cost of the mortgage, telephone bills, utility bills, credit card bills, and car payments. He often exploded in anger about paying for anything other than basic necessities, such as food or school supplies.

Then, from time to time, he enjoyed playing the generous rich man. I recall one time he gave me $300 without warning or explanation. He seemed to enjoy the look of happy surprise on my face. He did this to each of us on whim. He also used cash to buy our forgiveness whenever he did something he was ashamed of, like the time he was excited about winning $10,000 at the Blackjack tables in Las Vegas and promised all of us he would stop gambling for the rest of the trip but snuck out anyway and ended up $10,000 in the hole by the time we left.

My dad wanted to live like a rich man so he bought a big house in the hills, drove a big Cadillac, and spent lavishly on family vacations. He drank fine whiskey, wore designer suits, and bought top-of-the-line brand name everything. He charged all of his purchases then trusted his business to eventually pay for everything. No wonder he got so mad every month when it was time to pay the bills!

Once in a while, he gave lip service to the virtues of saving money. But if I managed to save even a hundred dollars, he usually asked to “borrow” it for an emergency and never paid me back. If I dared to ask about it, he was indignant and accused me of being greedy and ungrateful after all he had done for me. Or, if my sisters and I asked for cash to go to the movies with friends, he would ask each of us what happened to the cash he gave us last month during one of his charitable moods. If I still had any of my money saved while my sisters had spent theirs, he would give them the money they asked for, after a mild scolding, but made me spend my own money, even after praising my ability to save it. So I quickly learned it didn’t pay to save any money in my family.

2. WHY INVESTING MONEY IS IMPORTANT

Advice I Wish He Gave Me: “After you’ve saved at least $1,000 in an interest-earning savings account, leave it there for true emergencies. Then, start saving more money, but this money you will use to make a whole lot more money than just savings account interest. This is called investing. Investing is important because if you can figure out how to make your money make a lot more money for you, you can be as free as you want to be. That means you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, with whomever you want—as long as you don’t hurt anyone. The different ways to invest your money are:

a. Sell something people want, a product or a service, like candy or babysitting. This is called starting a business. You are the boss. The goal is to make as much money as possible for as little money as possible. You have to figure out a lot of things to keep your business going, such as the best price for everything, the best way to let people know you have something for sale that they want, and, most of all, the best way to keep your customers happy so they keep coming back for more. Design your business so unskilled cheap workers can do most of the repetitive work, so you can keep making your business bigger until you are ready to sell it.

b. Invent something people want. This can be something completely new or an improvement on something that already exists. There are many examples of child inventors who thought up million-dollar ideas, for example, games, toys, clothes, and household items. Make samples called prototypes and test them to learn how to make them cheaper and better. Then figure out how to sell them to as many people as possible.

c. Create something with your hands, brains, or body by learning how to write, draw, photograph, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, play music, act, or play sports really, really, really well. The better you are at it, the more people will pay you for your creations and your performances. Remember, you can only become really good at it if you love it so much you want to do it all the time.

d. Most successful people buy property as soon as they can afford it because the price of property almost always goes up. Anything that you can buy that will go up in price after you buy it—so you can sell it later for a higher price—is a good investment. If it goes up a lot, it’s an excellent investment. If the price goes down when you need to sell it, that’s a terrible investment. The reason property prices almost always go up is because everybody wants some, which is also why it’s so expensive. One big difference between rich people and poor people has always been rich people own land and poor people don’t.”

So what did my dad actually teach me about investing in a business, inventions, my own athletic or artistic talents, or real estate?

a. Dad’s Business Advice

My dad always dreamed about having his own business but never had that dream for me because I was a girl. In his opinion, the best I could hope to become was the wife of a business owner. He considered female business owners—other than those helping their husbands or recently widowed from husbands who were business owners—as unfeminine and as offensive to his sensibilities as a woman who drinks, smokes, and swears. When he met my mom, she did none of these. Though, after living with him for a few years, she swore plenty!

b. Dad’s Invention Advice

My dad fancied himself something of an inventor. But his inventions were so lame that I was immediately turned off to the idea of becoming an inventor myself. For example, when I was a teenager, he designed a huge steel and cast iron gazebo, painted it brilliant white and cobalt blue, and installed the eyesore in our backyard. He took photos of it and featured it in his Yellow Pages ads and business flyers but never sold a single one. Yet, that monstrosity was still better than his prototype of an exercise machine that was supposed to slim and strengthen abs. Its electrically-operated metal lounge chair frame jerked the user up and down violently. But even that was better than his first big idea of a miniature 3-D mountain landscape, all welded together out of sheet metal, that included a watermill with real water turning the water wheel. He got hung up on how to power it. And, that was it.

c. Dad’s Personal Talent Advice

I guess my dad, in his own way, tried to encourage me to develop some artistic talents. It’s still painful to remember how he forced me to sing, dance, or play the violin or piano in front of other adults at his command. Throughout these excruciating performances, he always pointed out every mistake I made and criticized every move he didn’t like. He just about killed the artist in me by being the toughest critic I ever had. If I knew that most critics weren’t as harsh as my own father, I probably would have pursued a career in illustrating or writing.

d. Dad’s Real Estate Advice

As for real estate investments, my dad complained loudly and often about the downside of property ownership. He hated making mortgage payments. He hated paying the taxes. He hated paying for utilities. He hated maintenance and repairs. Everything he had to do for the home and business was one royal pain in his rear. Occasionally, he was proud of his big house on the hill with a great view and pool.

Slightly more often, he was proud of his own business property with an attached commercial rental property. Then, he would remember his tenant was late on rent again and, worse, wanted this fixed and that changed before he’ll pay any of it. Yet, he still had to pay the full mortgage payment on time and it was due soon! So, he quickly went back to hating almost everything about property ownership.

[Continued in “10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me – Part 2.”]

[For all 5 parts to “10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me,” click here.]

[For “10 Things I Wish Mom Taught Me,” click here.]

[For more “Easy Steps to Success with Money,” click here.]

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