Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GaryTalk #2

Be self-sufficient; carry your weight and then some

SELF-SUFFICIENT: able to provide for your own needs without help from others

As I was growing up, the drive to be self-sufficient was introduced to my older brother (Frieden) and me at a young age and on regular basis. My mom gardened and canned years worth the spaghetti sauce. Dad never hired anything he could do himself, whether it came to digging trenches under the house, fixing cars, or tending his yard. The babysitter drove a nicer car than my dad. The difference: my dad owned his car. 

In the house, Frieden and I were constantly expected to "carry our weight". In other words, keep our rooms clean and tidy, help out with chores, in the yard, or with whatever project we were needed. Was it always fun? No. Did we know any different? No. At some point, we realized that some of our friends were being paid for "chores". A few dollars to vacuum, a few dollars to clean a bathroom. You should have seen my dad's face when we thought he would consider paying us to work in the house! Oh hell no. 

When we were old enough to grasp how money works, we were given a small weekly allowance, starting at 1 dollar a week. The talk that came before that first dollar was serious, and we were encouraged to save our dollars not spend lavishly or wastefully. As silly as it sounds now, Frieden and I were like two little squirrels, hiding away our money and saving it. Just in case. The temptations were vast: treasure trolls, Lego's, baseball cards, Ace of Base cd's, Limited Too scrunchies. The temptations remain vast: fancy cars, designer jeans, iPads, camera lenses, vacations. My dad did not want us to ever rely on anyone else to provide our needs - not the bank, the government, or other people. If there was no money for it, we didn't have it. I think that materialistically we had a lot less than the other kids in our neighborhood, but we were being taught so much more. 

Dad says that you should never rely on others to provide for you or help you create the life that you want. Rely on yourself and do for yourself. 

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