How much money are we willing to spend on our kids? How much time? How much effort? And how much sacrifice?
Raising your kids, and providing for them the best start you can is a sacred cow. Just try to question it out loud and you'd better be prepared for some judgment to be hurled your way.
Today's topic came up for me while reading the morning's blog posts in my RSS reader, which is an outdated way to subscribe to blogs.
RSS is antequated but democratic. Most important of all it is free of the crappy click-bait and post-modern one-liner meditation GIFs that abound on social media. Incidentally, it's the exact same medium I use for my podcast subscriptions, but podcast apps hide the RSS-ness of it all.
Keeping Up with The Jones's Kids
Back to the topic at hand... In an article (1) on the Mr. Money Moustache blog, I caught some insights that ring true. A section of it rails against the notion of a fancy education in which the author observes "a very common bias in US society":
...that spending an absolute sh**load of money on your children is a necessary and advantageous thing to do. You could sum up our generous but financially suicidal belief system in this quote from his story:
“I never wanted to keep up with the Joneses. But, like many Americans, I wanted my children to keep up with the Joneses’ children, because I knew how easily my girls could be marginalized in a society where nearly all the rewards go to a small, well-educated elite. (All right, I wanted them to be winners.)”
The article isn't primarily on this topic but it was the most interesting part. It sparked two very interesting insights for me:
- parents have to fight a bias toward unlimited and undisciplined spending on a fancy education for their kids to try to get them into "an educational elite".
- parents experience FOMO (fear of missing out) for their kids which drives them into a keeping up with the Jonses' kids behavior.
We're told nowadays to "check our privilege". (I hate this one, actually but it has been able to find cultural purchase for some very valid reasons). Jocko Willink and Leif Babin have an entire chapter in their book (3) about "checking your ego". These are things that blind you. They are sources of bias. That's why you need to find a way to escape their gravity.
We might have to add to this: "Check your FOMO". Parental or otherwise.
FOMO is subtle fear. It is sneaky and persistent. It keeps coming back around. And you will need conditioning to resist it.
"Discipline Equals Freedom"
I've been pondering these words a lot since I've been really enjoying the Jocko podcast (2). How can discipline mean freedom? Freedom from what?
Discipline frees you from being driven by emotion and limited by your biases.
Discipline means practicing checking ALL of your biases. (You don't want to work out this morning? Good! You're going to get after it anyway because we are doing this.)
Discipline frees YOUR MIND so that you can step back to assess a situation and make decisions from the better part of your nature.