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Show Me the Money August 3, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings.
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Growing up, it was always my mom who would give me my allowance. Whether it was the Php5.00 I’d get in second grade (in case I’d want to treat a classmate to an Icee, each costing Php2.50) or the significantly larger amounts needed to get through college, I could always count on mom never to forget to have my allowance ready. Obviously the amounts would change over time, as would the delivery system: in grade school I’d get the money daily; in high school it would be weekly; in college it would mostly be deposited into my bank account in monthly increments or more. My dad would explain that this was an important way of learning how to manage my funds, but of course all I really learned was that when I needed money I could always run to mom.

Then I graduated and eventually started working. More than that, I ended up drawing two salaries: one from my teaching gig and the other for working in the family business. In spite of this, my mom would still give me an allowance. At first, I thought that this was a force of habit. But consistently for two years, my mom would give me the same amount month in and month out. At some point she did figure out how much I was earning on my own, which wasn’t exactly great but was definitely better than most, and quipped that maybe I should be the one to pay her an allowance. But she continued to give me an allowance all the same.

I’ve always had a hard time coming to terms with this. What self-respecting person wouldn’t want to show her/his parents s/he can live on their own earnings? Also, doesn’t pride get in the way of accepting dole-outs, however generous? I know it does in my case. Granted, necessity does sometimes make it easier to swallow one’s pride: I may not be destitute, but I did appreciate the fact that my mom (again!) gave me a bit of cash to tide me over while I’m in Manila not earning anything. Still, it’s hard to shake that uncomfortable feeling.

But today I discovered something that’s changed my view on the issue. Apparently, my dad also receives a weekly “allowance” from my mom, even if he needs very little day to day cash – save for the occasional game of golf – and settles most of his accounts with his credit card. And I suspect this is how things have been for as long as they’ve been married.

So I suppose this amounts to three life lessons I should take to heart:

First, it doesn’t hurt to swallow one’s pride and count one’s blessings every now and then.

Second, mothers will always be mothers, and they will invariably provide for their children regardless of circumstance.

Third, I better hang out around dad more. He hasn’t been playing golf lately, which has left him with quite a bit of extra cash to burn…

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