My Pap Pennington is one of the wisest people I know. I sometimes joke with him that age is what makes a person wise beyond their years, but in his case, I think it's a mixture of both life experience and age. Any time I need advice or have a question on a particular subject, Pap is always there to solve my dilemma by giving me a firm answer - or at least his opinion, anyway.
The other day we got into a heated discussion on the front porch of my mom's house. I'm not exactly sure what started it, but I know Sarah Palin's name popped in there a bunch of times. Let's just say it was politics.
Well, our discussions tend to bounce around from subject to subject, and the next thing I know we are discussing how people in general have their "needs" and "wants" completely backward.
For instance, I need food, water, clothing and shelter to survive in life. But do I always go that route? No. Sometimes, I will splurge and get the things that I "want" in life; the things that I desire, wish, crave, etc. The things I tend to splurge on are clothes, shoes, coffee coolattas, eating out at restaurants when I shouldn't be, and buying my dogs expensive toys when they already have several at home - and they don't chew them! Oh, and did I mention I have a daughter who gets the cutest outfits and shoes?
This is not to say that I spend every last dime on these types of things - trust me, I did that while I was in college and I paid the price for it. I've learned my lesson.
But my Pap and I got into this heated discussion about how today's generation would rather pay for a pricey haircut than save the money in an account for their future.
My sister, Kelley, however, is in the minority when it comes to heavy spenders. She is a total tightwad compared to most of today's youth. She has a bonus card for every grocery store in town and watches her spending like a hawk.
I, on the other hand, fall within the majority of frivolous spenders. Actually, I'm quite envious - I wish I could be as good with my money as she is with hers.
Because of Kelley's frugal spending habits, she is able to pay for her schooling now, while I'm a college graduate and I'm still paying for mine.
Granted, I would probably still be paying for most of my schooling even had I been more thrifty, but I could have paid a good bit off if I would have watched my spending just a wee bit better.
To some degree, I have to agree with my pap. If I would have watched my spending in high school and college, I would have been able to save quite a bit for when I really needed it most. I ask myself all the time, "Was that coolatta really worth it?"
After listening to my Pap's argument and voicing my two cents, it became clear that he was onto something. Our discussions touch upon a wide variety of topics, but there always seems to be some moral lesson that floats to the surface as a result.
The moral of the story here: "Ask thy purse what thou should spend." - Scottish proverb
Sentinel reporter Tara Maguire welcomes parenting advice and stories at email@example.com.