I am a father of a family of four living on a modest income. Inflation is making it almost impossible for me to make ends meet. The cost of groceries and gas money alone is taking up the little money we are able to save every month. I don’t know how long we can survive this. I feel terrible for my kids because we won’t be able to afford our normal summer excursions. Does my inability to provide for them in the way I always have make me a failure?
Dear Amazing Dad,
First things first: Our ability to provide a particular lifestyle for our children is not a true measurement of our success as parents. You, my dear, are in no way a failure. Of course, pop culture and social media would lead you to believe otherwise.
We live in a time when the most important things we can give our children are lessons in love, accountability, reality and gratitude. One way we can reframe our conversations with our kids during this time would be to go heavy on the gratitude.
“Son, do you remember when we took that trip last summer? Do you remember how much fun we had? I would imagine whenever we are able to take a summer vacation again, we will have even more fun than the last time because we will remember the years in which we weren’t able to.”
Helping our children understand the difference between a luxury and a necessity is important. Helping them grasp a good understanding of financial literacy, inflation and the impact inflation has on every household is a gift that will keep on giving.
When children learn these lessons, they are more likely to grow into young adults who won’t be tempted by a world of consumerism. A world that says we must have all the things, all the time.
Inflation and the probable looming recession is no fault of working-class families; therefore, you should carry no shame or guilt in your inability to provide things and experiences that are above your family’s basic needs.
I personally worry about the impact the rising cost of food will have on families. The last thing we need is for parents like you to have to make tough decisions like feeding their children or paying their utilities. Families deserve to thrive in every way. That happens at the policy level by promoting legislation that reflects the needs of families just like yours.
Soul to Soul,
Dear Kiantha can be read Fridays in The Spokesman-Review. To read this column in Spanish, visit www.spokesman.com. To submit a question, please email DearKiantha@gmail.com.