This post is part of the Family and Money topic of Women’s Money Week 2013.
When my Father was growing up, he lived on a farm in the mid-west. His parents and grandparents had been farmer’s most of their lives. They were typically educated only through part of grade school. My Grandfather and Grandmother both only made it through the 6th grade.
Dad and his brother were expected and required to help with work around the farm, from milking the cows to shooing the sheep from the creek during the dust bowl. As with most children, through most of time, they were part of the family’s economic system – helping with the work as well as receiving the benefits.
Education was not their family’s number one priority, but both boys did graduate from high school. Dad went on to go to trade school to learn radio-electronics, which helped him eventually land a job working on the space program.
When I was growing up, although I was assigned chores like trimming the grass with hand clippers or washing the dishes by hand, most of my time was expected and required to be devoted to studies. Mom was one of the few women of her time that had a college degree and in fact later won a Masters degree. She put a high value on education.
She and Dad strongly discouraged me from getting a job, once I was old enough (although they did let me try selling our fruit and selling greeting cards in the summer). They also scrimped and saved to put me through college so I would not have to work (and did not) during the school year. Money earned during the summer was extra, to spend as I pleased instead of necessary to obtaining my education.
My husband’s upbringing was similar, school and education were the ticket to a better life, so working at a burger stand was just out of question!
Although we both received excellent grades and some scholarship money as a result, we missed out on getting some real life job experiences. We both feel we might have been better prepared to land jobs after college if we had a string of work experiences behind us. In fact, we both wished that we had taken a year after high school to work full time.
So, to my grandchildren, who may some day read this post. Here is …