You might find this surprising, what does storytelling have to do with money.
Story telling is how we pass our values and beliefs to our children.
Do you want your children to know about your family history?
Do you want your children to know about the efforts you and your family made to have the economic situation you have today?
Then you should tell your money story.
My father always told me I was the mix of conquerors and immigrants. I was born in Peru, a country that was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. My father’s family came with that wave of Spanish men, who facing no future in their own land, were looking for fortune in the new world. On my mother side, my family came from England, my great- great grandfather came as the General Manager of a very large company.
From both sides, my father used to tell me, you are inheriting courage, curiosity and a great desire to face your destiny. For me those were the pillars of my forming years.
I know how on my father’s side, my family had land that later they lost. My father got his first job with his uncle at 10, washing his cars. He was so happy because his uncle had a huge collection of antique cars and he loved cars. My father told me he saved money to buy a toy train, he loved all mechanical things. He asked for the train, but his mother told him to save and buy it himself. He told me that when he got accepted into the most difficult college in the second place, his father told him “you should had got the first place”.
All these little life moments forged my father’s character, he became an entrepreneur and never feared the future.
On my mother’s side, my grandfather was born in a very wealthy family. My grandfather and his siblings were raised as they will never need to work. My grandfather was the only one who got a college degree. This was very useful when the family lost all their land. Interesting enough all his siblings were very successful in life. They read all the classics, they had private tutors, they learned about life in a different way. I remember a great uncle who could talk to you about any city as if he had lived there, and he had never visited it. But he was well taught.
From this mix, I learned lot. I knew my father will not give me anything unless I deserve it.
I knew how he valued money and how difficult it is to get it.
He told me about his work, how difficult it was to manage your own business in a country with no regulations. I learnt how difficult it was to deal with employees. But mainly I knew I had to make my own decisions and I will not receive money from him, that I had to work for my money.
From my mother, I got a great sense of style, art, fashion, and good manners (she was a general in this one). Both my parents considered it was very important to read. I believe I read more at home that all the reading I did during my studies.
All these little things from my childhood forged my character.
I had to study and they expected I will be good at it. My parents were not surprised but any of my achievements. I was supposed to get them, for my father, that was my only job. Today, that attitude will be consider too harsh maybe. But it worked for me.
When I complained, I remembered how my father had to work washing cars to get his first toy train. I had all the toys I wanted.
I remembered he was told he should had got into college in the first place, not the second. My father never asked me anything like this. He just told me that studying was my “job”.
He introduced the word “job” in my vocabulary.
I knew a job is something you work on, to obtain a result. And I was just 8 years old.
He gave me my first car, but he told me “take care of this car, you will have to buy the next one”. And I did.
Tell your children your own story. Tell them how your family got to the country you live, how you got to the position you have in life. Tell them what took you where you are. Why you made the choices you made. Tell them about your achievements, sacrifices, and about your mistakes. These things stick with children. They will remember them as they remember Snow White or Cinderella, but these stories will be more useful for their real lives.
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