Fast Money: it is a term largely unfamiliar to our generation and definitely foreign to people before that. It is the wealth generated with primarily unfair means which the young ones follow to achieve a coveted end; their bottomless abyss of desires...
The college going youth these days NEED swanky cars and high-end gadgets like mobile phones and lap tops. They NEED credit cards to pay bills at restaurants and take girlfriends for shopping. The difference here is they need it when they have not still reached the stage where they have earned the moolah
"So what! Our parents have!!"..is the refrain when you try to reason with them. The irony is that those whose parents either can't or won't allow this uninhibited splurging take to unfair means like stealing, fraud, credit card thefts, forgery and even murder.
Being a teenager's mother, I get shivers down my spine when I read news items where young boys steal and sell motorcycles to be able to take their girlfriends to posh restaurants and shopping malls or when to-be engineers with a promising career and ample talent are lead astray to engage in wheeling and dealing with fake currency. Stealing mom's jewellery or raiding dad's pockets is not even considered theft by these youngsters.
Are they solely to be blamed for this love of THINGS and BRANDS? Are they to be blamed for indulging in this rat-race where their clothes, shoes, phone, laptop and credit card limits are the factors that make or mar their image?
No! I think that we are as much to be blamed as parents. It is we, our generation of go-getters who have instilled this materialism in our children. Our parents, those who were born in late 40s and 50s and their parents, worked hard when the nation was re-building itself. They considered it bliss if they were able to buy a TV set and a two wheeler. We got a platform from where we built our lives but we had to make our own efforts and fight our own battles. In turn we are the ones who were fiercely competitive and materialistic.
This reflects in the way we have brought up our children. Just like our home had to have the best decor, better than what Mrs. Sharma had, our child also had to go to the best convent school in the city regardless that the said school was no longer the best in terms of either results or environment. Then he demanded that he had to go the school in a big-chauffeur driven car because all other children did so and his birthday party had to be at the trendiest joint in the city and we gave in. We didn't mind or did we? After all he was the apple of our eyes.
In progression we provide them with the X-boxes and PSPs and NIKE sports gear and everything that our money can buy. But what we forget is to make them understand the effort, hard work and stress that goes behind dad's credit card limit. We forget to teach them the value of this success and wealth. Is it their fault then that they take it and us for granted?
By the time we realise our folly, it is too late. They don't want to work on their own to satisfy their need and desires. They don't have the patience to wait for their careers to flourish. They just need everything now and here irrespective of the source where the money comes from.
The fire in their bellies is not of ambition but desire and when the fuel from parental sources dries up, as it eventually would , they take to unfair means. Its like an addiction, you have to have the drug- beg, borrow or steel and then they fall in the quagmire of crime to quench this thirst.The line between material success and crime is very thin- crime is the easiest path to achieve it
We as young parents should remember to instil the right values of hard-work, toil and patience in our child.We should, first of all, ourselves set an example by giving up the fierce materialism and competitiveness that we have developed in our generation. The 'comparison' culture should be abandoned. We have to outgrow this attitude.
We should inspire them to achieve the heights that they desire to soar to through rightful means and teach them the true value of honesty and integrity. Saying that, it should not be an excuse for shirking responsibility and not giving them the basic platform and support which nourishes them to have a fruitful and fulfilling life.
Also goes without saying that we should encourage them to be achievers but on their own steam and see to it that they are clever, kind and loving instead of being cunning, mean and selfish.