One of the things I was worried about before I became a parent was the areas where I lacked knowledge and ability. My wife said to me “don’t worry, I’ll do math and science and you’ll do English!” So I took a deep breath and put that worry aside. Since she passed away, part of learning to parent on my own is to take a crash course, or perhaps a cash course on a number of topics. Asking for help is a very empowering thing actually. I write this as I sit at the bank, while the associate is working out an issue to balance my RRSPs, RESPS and GICs. Coming in here used to make me break into a cold sweat, but now I have become much more comfortable with my finances. This seems like a miracle given that I was never confident when it came to managing my money. This is now something I want to pass on to my son, but where to start?

Chatting over the humming of the laser printer, the Financial Services Representative told me about the Junior Achievers program, the largest youth business educational organiation in Canada. They provide programs in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. For example they have a new program for grade 3 and 4 called More Than Money, that is facilitated by volunteers from the local business community. They focus on the areas of earning, spending, saving and sharing money.

The representative himself volunteered for grades seven and eight for a similar course. When he began facilitation he would ask the students, “where does money come from, does it grow on trees? How do you get it?” Then he would go on addressing the questions of how do you save this money and how you budget it.

Budgeting is one of those skills that is essential for life, particularly because money does not grow on trees. However as I mentioned earlier, numbers were always a bit of an abstract concept for me. I don’t remember specific conversations with my parents about budgeting until I realized what a trap having a credit card could be. At that point I fell into another trap, and that was developing a very negative relationship with money. This is something I would rather address early with my son. My friend at the bank suggested that when I buy things, I should show him how much they cost, so he can start to get a more clear understanding of value. From there he can start to understand what having enough money means in order to buy the things you want.

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This kind of approach is a very practical when teaching your children about money. However myself and my artistic leanings didn’t really jump with the thought of this until a more artful opportunity landed in my lap. On Sunday February the 28th The Roseneath Theatre is organizing a family friendly fundraising event. This day of kid focused activities includes a presentation of a new play by Robert Watson called, you may have guessed it, The Money Tree (nominated for two 2015 Dora Mavor Moore Awards). I am going to wholeheartedly hop on this opportunity to get The Ginger Menace talking about money. GET TICKETS 

Children imitate what they see, and if my son can remember and regale me with the exact chronological timing of events in a movie, television show or story, then I have confidence that a play to demonstrate the idea of money to a young audience is a fantastic idea! The Money Tree is a play about a young girl whose birthday party dreams are a little dashed when one of her parents lose their job. As you would expect from a children’s story, a mysterious traveller arrives on the scene with mystical seeds that do in fact grow into a tree that sprouts money. As adventure ensues the two main characters come to realize that loyalty, friendship, imagination and the love of family and friends is truly the most valuable commodity. As a parent, just the act of getting through everyday life can seem overwhelming, so it is clarifying when something comes along, to help you in your journey to raise your children. Honestly I can say this is one magical journey that I will be excited to go on!

Get tickets before February 8th and receive the Early Bird Pricing!

 

About the Author

Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to a six-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow them on PinkPlayMags' parenting blog "The Ginger Gent" (www.pinkplaymags.com). Also, find Kelly on her own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at www.kellywilk.ca.