Customer in training. Children look up to you.

Aaron Holmes

Guest Editorial

Monday, December 10 2012

Whether you have kids or not, how you spend your money sets an example for others. What you value shows them what to value.
If you’re employed, you’ve traded your time for money. As we enter the holiday shopping season, one of your biggest decisions is what do you trade your money for?
Stuff? Stuff for other people? Experiences? Adventure? The kids are paying attention. The ads you watch, the stores you frequent, and the things you come back with from those stores sends a message, both to individual kids you know and in the aggregate. If ‘everyone else’ has one, they’ll be taught that that’s what’s expected, whether it’s a 4x4, a big screen tv, or the latest fad.
Fads aside, you’re teaching them about what’s expected of them as adults. The world will train them to be consumers if it can. There are enough people that will want their money that consumption is inevitable.
Teach them to be citizens, not consumers. The consuming is incidental. It’s the experiences and the family and friends, not the consumption that’s point.
Don’t get stuck on having lots of stuff either. The reason you buy stuff is to get the benefit the stuff provides. Without the benefit, the having of stuff is inconsequential, unless you want to get on ‘Hoarders’. As any company with a customer loyalty card knows, what you spend is who you are. The data mining that can be done on aggregated purchases is staggering.
Purchases are communication. Companies know that already, and the kids are paying attention. Now you know it too. What do you want to say?