Work For It

Students need to earn luxuries they have

Work For It

Kaitlin Green, Publication Editor

During my freshman year, there was a phrase one of my teachers would ask the students in my class: Did daddy’s money buy it?

The question did not necessarily mean to ask us if our parents had paid for something on our behalf, but rather asked us what we did to earn it or contribute to it.

Many teens today, especially in the Johnson County area, are fortunate enough to come from affluent or well-off families whose parents are able to gift them with expensive things. In a survey taken by the US Census, the average Johnson County household income in 2018 was $86,746, close to a $23,000 increase compared to the national average of $63,179 in the same year.

I admit I come from a family where we are able to
live comfortably, and I have been able to pursue different opportunities throughout my life due to this fact. However, my parents have made it a point to talk about expenses with my brother and me and be upfront about how many hours, and how many jobs, they have to work in order to afford what we have.

I believe this honesty is essential in raising children to be knowledgeable about real life. The knowledge my parents have passed down has caused me to save every bit of money I earn working a minimum wage job so I can provide for myself and feel pride with each paycheck I receive.

Because of the opportunities they are freely given during childhood on account of their family’s wealth, many teens will grow up lacking a mindset that hard work equates to success — a lifestyle must be earned and deserved, not expected.

Of course, I’m not saying teenagers are not allowed to accept gifts from their parents or enjoy luxuries. What I am saying is that as teens get closer to adulthood and independence, they must be exposed to the reality that
it takes both time and effort to own as well as maintain anything worth having in life.

Take, for instance, a car.

If a teen is fortunate enough to have a car gifted to them, it should be their responsibility to help cover other expenses, such as gas or insurance.

If that same teen does not have the time or the means to earn money, it should be expected that they will keep the car in good condition to express their gratitude while working extremely hard at school or community service to continually demonstrate they deserve to have the car.

If neither of the two scenarios is feasible, what purpose is there in owning the car? What have they done to deserve that luxury?

It should ultimately be a teenager’s job to devote their energy to earning each opportunity they are offered instead of simply having it handed to them.

If teens do not learn how to put in the work and operate independently, they will enter college and adult life unprepared to maintain the lifestyle they envision themselves having.