What’s the Opposite of Spoiled?

I had an interesting talk with one of my children a few weeks ago.  He’s 9 years old, in 4th grade, and is just beginning to really ask some big questions about himself and his place in the world.  Recently, having noticed his interest in money, how much he has and on what he should spend it, my husband and I decided it was time for him to learn about its value by establishing an allowance.  In exchange, we told him, he would be expected to do certain responsibilities every day.  We made a list together about what these things would be, and decided what amount he would earn weekly.  I thought it was great,  my son seemed pleased, and so we forged ahead.

opposite of spoiled book

Then I started reading some of the articles about Ron Lieber, a speaker we’d scheduled for the February 28th Pause/Play event at the 14th Street Y.  He’s the New York Times “Your Money” columnist and author of the book “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money”.  Given what my son and I had just spoken about and the plan we’d made within my own family, I thought it was pretty good timing.  I dove into some of the articles Ron had written, expecting the advice to be somewhere along the lines of what we’d already put in place. But it didn’t happen that way.

Ron wisely points out that my husband and I don’t get money for doing chores around our house, and neither should my Son.  It makes sense that children should understand that their contribution to the family and to the home is just part of being a responsible human being.  These things should not be tied to money. Besides, there will surely come a time when there is something else my son will decide has more value to him than money. What happens the day he decides he’d rather not unload the dishwasher and just pass on his allowance that week?

But more importantly, Ron (in greater depth than I will go into here) makes a great case for understanding the full scope of money and what it can teach.  He underscores the importance of saving, and the importance of giving.

Here’s what happened when I spoke to my son after listening to Ron’s advice.

I told him that he was expected to do the list of chores we’d made together, and that his doing them was important to the well-being of our family.  I told him that doing them was his responsibility, and if he neglected them he would lose privileges.

I explained that the doing of these chores was not in exchange for his allowance.  His allowance would be given to him every week, because it was important that he have some money to spend, to save, and to give. We talked about what that meant.  As it turned out, he was already thinking hard about spending vs. saving. He had been troubled by the notion of spending money he received because he knew it meant he wouldn’t have it anymore.  The notion of a ‘savings jar’ was guidance that was a relief to him.

Probably though, the most gratifying thing I got out of this conversation and this approach was the conversation about giving. I hadn’t realized that my son had noticed and was bothered by the fact that some people had more than others.  He began talking immediately about homeless people that he sees every day in the subway, and organizations that help children and animals. In short, he didn’t fully realize the difference he could make and the contribution he could be in the world by his giving. To say it was heartwarming is an understatement.

There is so much more great advice in this book,  If you didn’t get a chance to come to the lecture on Saturday, we recommend that you check this link for other venues where you can see Ron.

You can also purchase his book by visiting here.

Finally, here are a few links where you can read more about Ron’s advice on giving (for grown-ups), giving (for parents and kids to discuss together), and on kids and gratitude.

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.

Aye Aye What’s Coming to the Y and PBS?!?

It’s less than a week away from our LABA Kids concert, Songs for Unusual Creatures and we checked with Michael Hearst again to get you some more exciting info and updates for this amazing show for the whole family!Aye aye FINAL

In last week’s post, we showed you a video that features the Aye Aye, or Daubentonia madagascariensis, a lemur native to Madagascar. The furry and unusual nocturnal creature uses echolocation to find its food and get around the forest. It also has extra special long middle fingers that it uses to tap on trees to see if they are hollow.

Songs for Unusual Creatures does a great job of uniting music, science, and learning. So much so that the show has been picked up by PBS Kids! The pilot episode will be premiering online on October 14th, and those of you who are joining us this Sunday will get to see the live version of the show. “Being able to make a show that ties in music with science is awesome!” says Hearst, who admires the work of Leonard Bernstein in his young people’s concerts, as it is “a great idea to be able to provide education through music. It is unusual that TV is willing to take a chance on something that is so art-y and yet educational at the same time.”

After the show, kids will be able to try out some of the unusual instruments that accompany these creatures, including the theremin (a crowd favorite!) and the stylofone.  Then, families can watch the series on PBS Kids and remember the great time they had with the instruments, animals, and band live!

The show is almost sold out! So get your tickets here, with a special discount for Y members.

Songs for Unusual Creatures

Sunday, September 29th

11:00am in the Theater at the 14th Street Y

FAMILY FIT DAY This Sunday October 21st!

Why?  Because Families are busy, but still want to spend time together, build great habits, and model a healthy lifestyle for their kids. 

We’re celebrating our Family Fitness Initaitives with FAMILY FIT DAY  at the 14th Street Y.  Climb a rock wall, play silly sports, run fun relays (gunny sack races, anyone?) and play super soccer stars TOGETHER.  Sponsored by Beyond Sushi (YUM!), East Village Body Works (chair massage for adults!) Tu-Lu’s Bakery (also, YUM!) Gym Source, Web MD (thanks!) and our friends at the wonderful Ciao for Now.

11:00AM-2:00PM.  Hope to see you there!

Family Fitness–What a Lift!

ImageOur first Family Fitness Intensive was as fun as it looks!  Don’t be sad if you missed it. 

Our next Family Fitness Intensive will be Sunday, November 4th at 12:30PM, Family TRACK DAY!  We’re so happy that so many people came to stretch, strengthen, breathe and bond at Family Yoga! 

Also, don’t forget that we’re celebrating Family Fitness on FAMILY FIT DAY, Sunday October 21st, 11:00-2:00PM. FAMILY FIT DAY will give us more opportunities to play together, with rock wall climbing, relay games, fun and healthy food and even chair massages for adults!  We can’t wait to see you.