I was asked to comment on a story about how honest you should be with your kids about money. Should you tell them how much the car costs? Should you tell them how much money you make? In my opinion, this story wasn’t about money but more about integrity.
Does integrity mean what it used to? My grandmother would’ve slapped you if you had called her a liar. I grew up in a small county, it was hard to beat a story you told to the other end. My environment was about truth, about the fact that your word was all you had. Is that lost? Seriously, we have to ask whether we should be honest?
If your priorities are straight, you can tell your kids how much money you make, you can tell them how much the car costs, and it would not be a big deal. Money should not be the priority of your life. Accomplishment, truthfulness, caring, compassion…these should be our lives’ priorities. Money is just a tool to accomplish or attain our purpose. We can spend it, save it, invest it or give it away, but shouldn’t it always be done with integrity?
Why would we lie to our kids about what something costs or what we have? And even a bigger quandary for me, why would we make a big deal out of it? The biggest challenge in life is to be wealthy but live a humble lifestyle. The next biggest challenge in life is to be poor but live a rich life. I believe both are possible.
God has endowed me with success but my challenge is to be meek, compassionate and not let money be the driver of my life. Purpose should be my priority. And that purpose should be to better the world, not to spend my money.
If we deceive our children how will they learn to be open and truthful with those around them? Do not believe for a second that kids are so naive that they don’t understand when they’re being misled. The book I recently wrote, “The Truth Project: Finding the Courage to Ignore Wall Street”, is about putting truth in front of fiction, facts in front of myths, and process in front of profits.
What chance does the next generation have if we don’t teach our children to be truthful and that their word is their largest asset. Children should grow up understanding money, the impact of financial decisions, and priorities in their lives. We are not a tool to this ability if we mislead them or hide the reality of money from them.
Live and share a truthful, honest life with your children. For our children’s sake, the nation’s sake and society’s sake. Your children deserve the truth.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.