Give your kids enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing.

An interesting quote from a film I saw last night: The Descendants. (I don’t usually swoon, but George Clooney…sigh)

The main character (sigh) is a wealthy man of old and new money.  He is a descendant of Hawaiian royalty and a runs a small successful law practice.  He chooses to live and support his family on the income he makes as a lawyer.  It’s not a shabby life by any means.  However, the wealth of his old money would buy them a completely different lifestyle.

The point here is he is tries to teach his family to be self-sufficient, grateful and happy with a few riches.  I won’t give away anymore of the film.

Prior to seeing the film, we were in a rush line for hours chatting away with other Torontonians and having a lovely time meeting strangers all waiting to see the same film.  One man was in line for his son, who was already in the theatre watching the film ahead of us.  His son, no more than 17, is a movie buff, and has a blog where he reviews every movie playing.  We all thought it was so nice how they made this a family affair.  His wife and daughter would wait in a nearby coffee shop and he was the holding spot in the rush lines.  But, only the son watched the festival films, no one else had any interest.

So towards the end of the rush we all get our vouchers and race in our newly formed pack to the box office.  His son is behind us in line.  As we get our tickets and proceed to the theatre we hear his conversation with the attendant that he didn’t know it was a premiere and only brought $20, enough for regular screenings. It’s cash only at this point. We quickly turn back and my friend spots the kid $10. After all that waiting and rushing how disappointing would it be to turn around and go home.  It felt nice.

Funny enough, we rushed out the same way we rushed in.  Somehow we all managed to congregate outside the theatre afterwards, I nudge my friend and we try to make contact with him – maybe to see if he enjoyed the film, wish the family a good night, get the name of his blog…whatever.  The kid turns, nods his head and looks back to his family.

He lost me.  I must have burned a hole through his head with my glare because he awkwardly turned back and said “oh and ya, thanks for the $10”, while pointing his finger in a shyster kind of way.  Hello, Larry Dallas!

I don’t know what I was expecting from him that made me feel so disappointed; originally not the $10 back, but at this point I wanted it back plus the interest of 2.5hours at a cash advance rate!

I guess I thought a sincere acknowledgement to my friend or an attempt to do right and let his parents know, would have made the gesture come full circle for me, but we got nothing.

It wasn’t my $10 and my friend couldn’t care less about the money or the thanks, which I know is because if we do things out of the goodness of our hearts, that should be our reward, but I felt so disappointed in this young man for not understanding gratitude.  Maybe it was because of the lesson being taught in the film and I thought “ya, it’s only $10, but you wouldn’t have had anything to blog out about tomorrow if we didn’t spot you.”

Then again, neither would I.

Money well spent.

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6 thoughts on “Give your kids enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing.

  1. Don’t feel bad, something thing take a bit longer to work out. Who know, maybe someday the kid may pay it forwards…

  2. Don’t feel bad, sometimes things take a bit longer to work out. Who knows, maybe someday the kid may pay it forward…

  3. It was nice of you to share your experience and feelings. I just watched the movie this week and the quote stuck with me, but I couldn’t remember exactly how it went. I Googled it and found your blog. I’m sorry to hear about your good deed going unacknowledged by the youth. I’m sure his family was grateful if they had know what you did. I always tell my sons to show respect and be polite, and show them ways they can be more considerate. I’d hope they would let me know if someone went out of their way to help them. They are recognizing how others behave and how to be considerate of others. I just wished their were more people like you setting examples for them to follow.

    • Sorry for the late reply, notification went to an old email. It’s a great quote and it has stuck with me since. I think manners can take you far in life, it’s free education. Good on you for teaching your sons some good values.

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