One Big Lesson to Teach Your Kids about the Government Shutdown

BY: - 14 Oct '13 | Parenting

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There are millions of people that have been affected by the recent government shutdown. Unfortunately, our family is on that docket of people. Like many, my husband has had a great government job for almost thirteen years now. Then last week, he got the news that neither of us wanted to hear: that his paycheck would be cut until our wonderful government gets their stuff together. So while he continues to go to work without pay, the same people who caused the shutdown to begin with, continue to collect ALL of their pay. And yes, federal workers will be “backpaid” once the situation is resolved. But what good does that do when we have mouths to feed and bills to pay?

A while back, I wrote a post about why I wasn’t teaching my kids that they HAD to go to college. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, please read the post carefully. In a nutshell, I was simply stating that college is not the end all, be all for everyone. I believe that some people were given natural gifts and abilities and that a college education is not the only type of education that kids can obtain.

On the flip-side, my husband didn’t go to college. And from my years of recruiting and hiring new employees when I worked in corporate, I know that his salary is higher than many who were college educated and in leadership roles. But then again…he’s in the same boat that millions of other government workers (college educated or not) are in now — on shutdown and currently without a paycheck. As with most things, we always try to find some underlying lesson. In this case, the shutdown reinforced the need to teach one big lesson to our kids: the importance of not relying on someone else (government or otherwise) to determine when and if you get a paycheck.

One way we are committed to teaching our kids is to be open and transparent with them when it comes to talking about our finances. I attended a recent conference and The Budgetnista talked about how her father went through all of the bills with them when they were growing up. They knew how much income was brought in the home, how much all the bills were, and how much was left after paying them all. She learned, early on, the importance of budgeting and money management. Oh how I wish my parents had done this with us. And no, it doesn’t count to constantly yell, “stop wasting water”, “stop leaving the lights on”, or “money doesn’t grow on trees”.

So one thing my husband and I will be starting with our kids (starting with the oldest who is 6) is to go over our bills with them so they understand finances at a young age. We’ve found free resources online that teach money management in a fun and easy-to-understand way for kids. I want them to really grasp what happens when there’s only one way for money to come in, so they are clear about the importance of having multiple streams of income.

That “good government job” that you keep hearing about is not a bulletproof plan. Even with a good job, you need to keep your options open and find other ways to make an income. From my own experience, I’ve realized that there should always be a plan A, B, and sometimes C. Sure you can work to save up six to eight months of living expenses, etc. But what if you’re out of work longer than that?

When I worked in HR and had to witness several of my Executive level friends and colleagues get laid off, none of them could’ve predicted it would take a year plus to find a job…paying much less than they were making previously due to the recession. Unfortunately, no number of college degrees will take care of the bills that have to be paid.

Our kids have a much better advantage of learning this early on, with all of the many ways to earn additional income. It’s no longer just about the world of network marketing or direct sales (although those are still viable options for some). The world of online/internet marketing (social media, blogging, etc) can be a great revenue generating option. But be sure to find out what your child gets excited about, and find a way to nurture that excitement into paid opportunities. My niece started a lego business and she’s nine. My six-year-old took it upon himself to gather a bunch of toys he and his sisters no longer play with, so they can sell them and “make some money”.

Even at a young age, my son is seeing the importance of budgeting and creating a wealthy mindset. We continue to talk to them and let them know the importance of not relying on anyone else to supply their income and fulfill their dreams.

BMWK: Has your family been impacted by the recent government shutdown? What are some things you’re doing to get through this difficult time, and what are you teaching your kids?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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Interview: One Woman Introduces Hundreds of Girls to the World

BY: - 15 Oct '13 | Parenting

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We recently had the pleasure to sit down and chat with National Geographic’s Traveler of the Year Award recipient, Tracey Friley. Tracey is the Founder and Executive Director of The Passport Party ProjectOBG Adventures, and (one of these days) Teen Travel Summit & Extravaganza Weekend. She is a die hard advocate for passports and international youth travel, and received an award from the U.S. Department of Consular Affairs for her work. She is a serious giver and passionate about serving the underserved.

Her Passport Party project caught the eye of Expedia who sponsored passports for 100 girls, and a trip to Belize with 6 of those girls. There are a lot of great things Tracey is doing and plans to do, which she shares in this interview.

BMWK: How did you get your start with travel, and how did the Traveler of the Year award come about?

Tracey Friley in BelizeTracey: I have no idea how the award came about. I just remember getting an e-mail saying I was being vetted. They had been watching me over the last couple of years, loved my work and needed more info. I was so excited about that initial e-mail, that winning was just that much more exciting. I don’t focus on awards. But the recognition adds a certain amount of exposure, which for me, can lead to more opportunities to help my girls. And I’m still stunned because it’s National Geographic! I’m honored in one of those surreal ways as I almost don’t believe it’s me. But I would love to leverage this so that I can get more for these kids.

BMWK: What is the Passport Party Project and what is the overall mission?

Tracey: It is a global awareness initiative that gifts underserved teen girls with their first passport. The ultimate goal is to play a role in creating global citizens that are responsible and responsive global travelers. No matter how big or small, or how many girls I’m serving, that is always the mission and the goal. Expedia funded phase one of the project.

For the last couple of years, I have been traveling the US hosting passport parties. We talked about travel, the girls made travel vision boards. They took photos in the travel booth of different items from different cultures. I had bloggers come in to volunteer and talk about their travels, so these girls could see people that looked like them.

Vision Boards

Girls and volunteers creating travel vision boards shaped like suitcases at New York Passport Party.

The way I define ‘underserved’ for the work I do is: any girl that comes into this world without a fair shake, or not on a level playing field. That could be based on cultural background or socioeconomic background. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a family can’t afford a $105 passport. What it means is that there is this mindset that needs to be shifted and changed.  There are a lot of families that when you start talking about travel and passports, in particular, their response is that they can’t afford it (traveling abroad). People think of travel as a luxury and not a lifestyle, and I look at travel as a lifestyle and not a luxury.

Global citizenship isn’t always about getting on a plane and leaving, although that’s where I think the growth occurs, but the growth can occur at home. It’s about acknowledging that there are other cultures that are interesting. Sometimes as Americans we get confused about what “exotic” means, and everywhere I’ve been in the world (with maybe the exception of Scandinavia), I look like people [there].

The idea is to teach these girls that they are as interesting as the people they are going to meet. But that these interesting people they want to meet when they travel, are also right in their own classroom, neighborhood, and parents’ jobs. Their responsibility is to meet these people and to talk to these people here at home and not to wait. So before they have an opportunity to take that global adventure, they still have an opportunity to become global citizens at home.

(L to R) Teen travelers Jazmyne, Daizia, Shannon, Soleil, Viviana and Lyanna show off their very first passports on their very first international adventure to Belize, Central America via The Passport Party Project

(L to R) Teen travelers Jazmyne, Daizia, Shannon, Soleil, Viviana and Lyanna show off their very first passports on their very first international adventure to Belize, Central America via The Passport Party Project

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About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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