A Beach Rose commented, on one of my previous posts about money,
I do not have access to my “education fund” (not 21 yet), and I honestly could not even give you a ballpark sum. I have no idea what will be available to me when the time comes. The adults around here positively refuse to discuss numbers.
Disclosure. Disclosure and children.
What should any parent disclose? As a parent you are both uniquely yourself and wholly a priest to a ritual. Childrearing has a component of magic and incantation. The only guideline I ever heard that I respect and find to be free of political taint is: disclose to your children what they are ready to hear. How will you know? They will tell you. They will ask you a question. When they do, answer minimally. If they want more, they will ask for more. If they sense the limit of their ability to absorb the information, they will change the subject. “Mama, how are babies born?” “Honey, mommies and daddies love each other and so…”. “Mama, do you like psusparagus?”
Money is a juicy topic. Money is the embodiment of our every earthly desire, the paper icon of what we will never have, the locked space for our earliest experiences of satisfaction and denial. It’s also necessary, unless you can find a way to trade cheese for penicillin in some place where you can’t be found yourself.
High WASPs with a lot of money are embarrassed to talk about it. Embarassed most of all that they like having it. They know they shouldn’t show off, but they have a tongue-biting covetousness for their artifacts, the diamond cuff, the enameled pendant, the Civil War swords. All the High WASPs I know love to stay in beautiful hotels. To wear good shoes. To summer on the Cape or the Vineyard or in the Wine Country or on the archetypal lake, feeling the rough grass on their bare feet as they head back to the house to grill fish after a day in the sun.
High WASPs are also frequently afraid that their children will be taken advantage of by suitors. They worry that their children might blurt out details of the family wealth in inappropriate moments. They worry that their children will be teased.
This is true but not helpful. Because at the end of the day money is not an emotion. Money gets paid in taxes, and salaries, and mortgages. People live on money. In my opinion, parents owe their children whatever information the child is ready to hear. And they need to prepare those children to be ready to hear what they need to hear when they need to hear it. I do not know a universal prescription. Parenting takes enormous courage. It demands that we focus our attention on our own weaknesses and acknowledge them and move beyond them where we can. Yes, Beach Rose, the grown ups around you, in my opinion, should begin to use numbers when they talk to you. If you are ready.