Money is effort. A dollar represents a certain amount of time and/or aggravation, and losing it is like losing that time or effort.
Imagine taking a day to paint your living room. At the end you feel good. You worked hard and the room looks great. But now imagine your feelings when you see you used toxic paint by mistake and all your efforts were for naught. That’s the feeling we have when we realize we over paid.
In everything we do, we generally reach a point where we feel we’ve done all we can. Maybe we could do more, but in our minds, “We are done.” So, when we see others work harder and maybe receive greater rewards, it bothers us only a little. However what does bother us, is when we could have gained much more for no extra effort. We over paid and therefore the anguish is far more intense, whether it’s gas, paint and especially our children.
Parenting takes effort, which is a type of pain, but the anguish of knowing we could have helped our children and missed the opportunity, is a special pain of its own category.
Too many parents call and email me describing problems that should have been dealt with years ago. I want to ask them, “When you first saw there was a problem, why didn’t you call then?” The answer is simple, they thought they wouldn’t regret it, and they would have been right – except what they regret is the problems they would have avoided.
For the same efforts they could have achieved so much more and saved so much grief.
Parenting doesn’t begin when the disaster finally explodes. It begins long before, sometimes when it’s just an inkling or even a very remote possibility.
I am speaking to you now because it’s never pleasant to overpay even if you can well afford it. It’s not the money, it’s the regret.
You will never regret parenting. What you will regret is the parenting you don’t do.
In parenting, as in everything of this sort, if you don’t do now what you need to do, you will always regret it. You will always end up expending more effort than you need if you don’t deal with the issue when you first see it.
When it comes to gas, we all know what it feels like to say, “If only I had driven a little further I would have seen the cheaper price.” In a very similar way, you never want to look back and lament what you should have done for your kids, and didn’t.
Saving money is a great feeling, but it’s nothing like saving your kids.