For the past several days my kids and I have been playing Monopoly City. They love it! They love the money, buying property, auctioning off property, buying houses and skyscrapers and building their land up. But what they really love is charging me rent when my dice come up with an unlucky number and I fall on their property. Oh they laugh and laugh as they drive me closer and closer to bankruptcy.
They seem to have a rather unhealthy fixation on money. They hoard it and throw a fit if they have to pay rent or get hit with corporate taxes. But I guess that is to be expected considering our whole culture is oriented toward making (and spending) as much money as one can by any means possible. Every day we (and especially kids) are bombarded with advertising trying to get us to buy stuff we probably don’t really need or really want.
I’m trying to teach my kids that there are more important things in life than having money and buying lots of things. Things won’t make you happy (try telling that to a 3 year old at Toys R Us). Money won’t make you happy. Spending time with your family will make you happy. Building meaningful relationships with people will make you happy. Helping and empowering people will make you happy. I have no interest in a monopoly on money and possessions. I’m more interested in a monopoly on friendship and empowerment to do the things I am passionate about.
While I try to teach my kids valuable lessons of money, really the best lessons are the ones learned on your own through the experience of life. Eventually I think most people grow to realize that money isn’t everything.