I had naively hoped never to live through tough economic times like my folks did, with The Great Depression. And, while I still believe that we’re far from those stupid dark economy days, it is clear that we are in the midst of the worst financial crisis of my life and certainly of my boy’s lives. There are lessons for them, for me, for all of us.
I recently got in a debate with a close friend about his wanting to get his not-yet-16-year-old a car. “He’s done well in school; he deserves it,” my friend says. This same friend is financially strapped, in constant debt, yet wants to please his son whose many friends “all have cars.” This is the ultimate juggling act for my generation of parents, who seem inclined to pamper their kids, delay their growing up, and otherwise give them everything they desire. It seems we’re all trying to compensate for some perceived slight our kids are suffering at our hands, whether it’s the dual-working parents or, in my case, the ugly divorce and absentee Mom. I feel bad for them, so I buy to assuage those feelings.