Friday, February 18, 2011

How much money does it take to raise a child?

I was a proud mom today. My daughter won the Peacebuilder award for the quarter. She has won the award every year so far. She is a naturally good, peaceful, loving child. I don't think I can claim much of of it for my parenting skills. It is simply her nature with a little bit of nurture, perhaps. I was struck as I watched each of the kids walk forward as the principal called their names that most of the kids who won weren't the ones wearing the most fashionable clothes, or the ones from the wealthiest families.

We often hear about the costs of raising a child these days. I've heard numbers ranging from a couple hundred thousand to over a million depending on whether you include the cost of college tuition. The common wisdom seems to be that kids are a money suck. They need recreation, lessons, nice clothes, tutoring perhaps, and lots of other pricey things to be successful in life. I suppose it all depends on what your barometer of success is. If you measure it in lifetime earnings, then, perhaps, you do need all of those things. If you measure success by whether your child grows up to be a useful productive member of society who embodies the values you have tried to instill, then perhaps not many of those things really matter at all.

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