Tag Archives: Money

Coat Ban

Did you know Canada Goose winter coats have been banned at a school in the U.K?  Moncler and Pyrenex coats have also been banned at Woodchurch High School in Wirral, England.  According to this article: “It is not because kids are stupid, lose things or steal off each other…Rather it is because of inequality.”

Canada Goose Jackets

Checking Prices

The Canada Goose website advertises youth parkas starting from $350 up to $750.  Moncler has coats for teen boys (12-14) that are upwards of $1000. Pyrenex jackets are the cheapest of the three ranging from $200-350 for children’s jackets.

What is the priority?

When I have looked for a winter jacket for myself or for my kid – I go with one priority, to find something that will provide warmth for our winters without breaking the bank.  Canada Goose, Moncler and Pyrenex may be wonderfully warm coats, but there are other, cheaper brands that are also sufficiently warm by my experience.  Thus, I struggle to understand why anyone would spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a single item of clothing especially for a child who would outgrow that item even if they don’t wear it out, lose it or otherwise wreck it?

Does name brand matter?

Over the years there are many brands that have held the spot light and thus been in high demand: Nike, Polo, Levi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Sketchers, Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch and so on.  For some, sporting these names helps to establish the individual as someone who is ‘cool’.  The problem is that the popularity of a brand can influence the price tag making it harder for everyone to afford and thus reinforcing the difference between those who have and those who don’t.

“Poverty Shaming”

In a time when wealth provides a sense of status and entitlement and when people are famous essentially because they have money, those who are unable to ‘keep up with the Jones’ (or perhaps the Kardashians) are looked down upon and can thus become targets of bullying.  In essence, while status is associated with wearing the ‘right’ brands, stigma is associated with the absence of such brands.  The assumption is that if you don’t have those brands it is because your family is poor and can’t afford them.

“Wealth Shaming”

One Facebook post complained that banning expensive, name brand coats is the equivalent of ‘wealth shaming’ – making people feel bad because they have money and can buy (really) nice things.  All of this, however, depends upon seeing the brands you wear as a means to define who you are.  Is this really the ideal we should teach in a school?

What do you think?

How important is what a student wears?  Should schools ignore those ways in which students  define one another based on clothing?  Or should the classroom and playground stress character and other qualities allowing young people to define themselves beyond what they wear?  Is limiting the brands students can wear a way to achieve this ideal? We want to hear from you.

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/

 

Financial Literacy

I recently completed the online survey about education reform.  This included a section regarding financial literacy expectations for students.  Namely, what skills should schools be teaching?  While I agree there are some technical aspects which can be taught in school – for example, how to calculate interest on a loan – there are life skills and a morality attached to the use of money that could and perhaps should be taught at home.

Teaching about money

There are toys appropriate for young children which can be used to introduce money.  There are cash registers that allow children to imagine shopping at a grocery store.  There are games that can be played that involve money – Monopoly (which has a Junior version), Payday, Life, and so on.  All of these can be fun ways to explore money choices and options.

Giving children an allowance

The government of Canada provides an outline to help parents reflect upon the extent to which giving a child an allowance can be a tool for teaching financial literacy.  Having access to their own money can be an important way to encourage children to save, share and spend wisely.  With their own money, children get to decide what purchases are priorities and develop an understanding of making choices about what, when and how to buy what they want or need.

Financial morality

Inherent in our use of money is a morality.  We make choices about our priorities including where, how and what to spend our money on.  These choices can influence our children’s priorities.  Consider, for example, those who choose organic and fair trade products or shop locally.  These options are often chosen intentionally and it becomes easy to share these priorities with our children, letting them know that there are consequences to what we choose to buy and the companies we choose to support.

Our relationship to money can also be reflected in our actions.  If all our children see is us spending in hap hazard ways, they may come to believe that this is appropriate thus developing a hap hazard approach to their own finances.  If we never show our children our bills, they may not realise the expenses that come with renting or home ownership.  If we never show our children what we do to save money, they may struggle to understand the importance and ways to save.

What do you think?

Do you believe that financial literacy in its entirety is something that should be left to schools?  In what ways do you think parents could and perhaps should teach about financial literacy?  What priorities do you hope to pass on to your children?  We would love to hear from you.

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/

Is our value in what we own?

Minimalism: Consumer Culture and the Family

A long-time friend (we were roommates in University) has decided to simply her life.  After moving from a large home to an apartment, she is now moving a second time and simplifying again.  As a result, she posed the question on Facebook: “Who is it that decided that we needed different types of drinking vessels? I have 23 glasses of 4 types plus 13 mugs/cups. I’m pretty sure I don’t need 36 vessels from which to drink. ‘Tis a sign of successful marketing for certain. I’m now debating how many to purge without my friends thinking I’ve gone over the edge in my embracement of minimalism (or my use of the word vessel).”

How many glasses are enough?

She has a point.  Through effective advertising, social norms evolve.  These norms suggest that different glasses serve different functions and, depending on the meal, you may need more than one glass per person as illustrated in these table setting guidelines.

There is considerable pressure for people to conform to social norms.  We want feel a part of the group and desire the approval of others.  This, then, influences the choices we make, including what we choose to buy.  Thus, we may have wine glasses with ones suitable for white wine, others for red and others still for champagne because advertisements have told us the differences matter.  We have juice glasses, water goblets, mugs, highballs, shot glasses and more depending on our drinking style and preferences.  Indeed, I wonder what might happen if we stop to consider how much cupboard space is used by vessels whose primary purpose is for beverages.

How much stuff is enough?

If we are honest with ourselves, we might have to admit that the number of drinking vessels we possess are merely one example of the plurality of things we buy because we think we need them.  What might happen if we challenge ourselves to consider how much we really need?  What we could do without?

While it seems trivial to even have this conversation, the fact remains, wartime homes are far smaller than what is popular today.  We have amassed so much ‘stuff’ that we require more space to store it.  There are those who have garages that are filled with stuff to the point where it is impossible to park a car.

What are we teaching our children?

This is the norm today.  We are told over and over again to buy our happiness.  In the process, some complain that Millennials are an ‘entitled’ generation because they expect to have things.  To some extent, they are merely conforming to the expectation that we all have a role to play in consumerism.  Have we considered what this might mean for the next generation?  How will our children relate to ‘stuff’?  What pressures will they feel to buy?

Listening to our children…

How often do we hear from our children that they ‘need’ this gadget or that piece of clothing?  How often do we recognise when they reflect back that willingness to conform to a norm that says we must buy and buy and buy?  To what extent do we want our children to see our ability to participate in consumer culture as a sign of our value in society as a whole?  What might we do to introduce values which focus more on the gifts our children have within themselves so that they can find value in sharing their talents, time and treasure in meaningful ways?

There will always be advertisements telling us to buy.  What can we do/what are we doing to teach our children that their value is about something other than what they own?

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/