What do you teach your kids about money? What do you teach them about education? We all have our different approaches. But I’m absolutely certain that many parents are screwing up their kids. Big time. Many of the kids are killing themselves, as reported by Diana Kapp in her piece Why Are Palo Alto Kids Kiling Themselves.

In her remarkable book, The Little Virtues, Natalia Ginzburg says this:

“As soon as our children begin to go to school we promise them money as a reward if they do well in their lessons. This is a mistake. In this way we mix money — which is an ignoble thing — with learning and the pleasure of knowledge, which are admirable and worthy things. The money we give our children should be given for no reason; it should be given indifferently so that they will learn to receive it indifferently; but it should be given not so that they learn to love it, but so that they learn not to love it, so that they realize it’s true nature and its inability to satisfy our truest desires, which are those of the spirt.”

Too many parents today have it so wrong. For them, education is about grades. Education is about test scores. Education is about the flipping joke of the “top university.”

At any cost, they treat the wondrous virtue of learning as a means to a more important end: money.

I indoctrinated Bree and Edison and Elliot, since diapers:

“Leaning and education are good, in themselves.”

“Learning and education are not ‘for the sake of’ making money.”

“We go to school and read and study because we choose to be enlightened.”

“We will never be ignorant because we are lifelong learners.”

“We read the views of our ‘opponents’ because someone once said, ‘it’s easer to hate your opponents than to understand their views.’”

I think Bree agrees with my indoctrination. Edison, disagrees, wholeheartedly. He has no use of theory, and wants in and out of college so he could pursue a career in finance — to make money.

I don’t argue, but he is wrong. 😉

But let’s agree on this. Today, the view of educating our young is in a largely dismal state, tattered by the ignorance and greed of misguided parents that only care about their own status symbols — again, the “top university” bullshit. Few seem to truly care about their children’s innate intellectual curiously and development.

I’m interrogated all the time by these parents that only want “what’s best” for their kid.  So at every stop they find a way to discover my “secret,” because Bree is at UCLA (my alma mater).

I just stare at them and mumble some vague nonsense and get them good and confused until their heads tilt and they go away.

Who the hell cares about college, anyway? College is great; but I’m more for education than college.

I’m all for education, but I don’t want it to get in the way of learning.

Sorry to be a downer, but fell into one of these interrogations earlier today.

We all need to wake up because life is, in the end, about the things money can’t buy.

Education is one of those things.