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Do you spoil your kids, or do you bless them?
There’s a big difference between the two, but a lot of people confuse them.
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In this excerpt from Dave and his daughter Rachel Cruze’s book Smart Money Smart Kids, Rachel explains how her dad showed her that being spoiled and being blessed couldn’t be more different.
You must carefully manage how the relationships in your child’s life impact him. That includes listening closely to any offhanded comments your own friends make to your kids. Soon after getting home from a family vacation one year, I had a conversation with one of Mom and Dad’s friends about our trip. She said to me, “Oh, Rachel. You’re so spoiled!” She didn’t mean it to be rude or demeaning. I think it was just her way of telling me how fortunate I was to have the chance to go on a nice vacation with my family. But that word—spoiled—got stuck in my head for a while. I developed a habit of saying, “I’m spoiled,” whenever I got to do something special or I received a nice gift.
Eventually, I said it to my parents during a dinner conversation. Dad cut me off mid-sentence and said, “Rachel, stop saying you’re spoiled. You’re not. Spoiled means something has gone bad. You kids are not spoiled because you have not gone bad. You’re not spoiled; you’re blessed.”
That’s a conversation I will carry with me the rest of my life because it did two things. First, it showed that Mom and Dad were paying attention to the influence their own friends were having in my life, and they were correcting any wrong ideas other adults were giving me. Second, it taught me the difference between being spoiled and being blessed.
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Even today, as I interact with thousands of teens every year, I can pick out the ones who are spoiled and the ones who are blessed. It’s amazing that the same gift or opportunity can spoil one kid but bless another. It’s all about the child’s attitude. It’s 80 percent behavior, remember? If they feel entitled to new clothes or a beach vacation, your kids can spoil quickly. But if they recognize everything they have represents the love and care of their parents, then you know they have the right spirit of gratitude and appreciation. They’re blessed.