George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Orlando Sen⁠t⁠⁠i⁠nel — Fa⁠t⁠hers, here’s an econom⁠i⁠s⁠t⁠’s gu⁠i⁠de for ra⁠i⁠s⁠i⁠ng savvy k⁠i⁠ds

By: The James Madison Institute / 2015

Orlando Sentinel
“Fathers, here’s an economist’s guide for raising savvy kids”
June 19, 2015
By Jack A. ChamblessAs Father’s Day approaches this Sunday and dads all over America prepare for the one day out of the year when no one is allowed to look at us as if we are stupid, I thought it might be helpful to share some insights that younger men could use to raise productive human beings.I have three kids — ages 21, 16 and 14. None of them has been arrested, has come home with unusual piercings or tattoos, or has flashed gangster signs at our golden retriever. All three are adored by other parents and are on their way to being productive members of society.To all dads of little ones out there, before it is too late, adopt the following rules to help create great kids:Rule No. 1: Never give a kid an allowance.Rule No. 2: Never force your child to share — anything.Rule No. 3: Ban the “F-word” (no, not that one) from your home.When my oldest son, the middle child, was about 5 years old, he came to me with a puzzled look on his face and began a long diatribe about some kid he knew who gets an allowance every week. When I queried him as to the nature of this allowance, he informed me that his little friend got money from his parents for (here he paused for effect) — doing nothing.I said, “So, you want me to give you money for managing to stay alive each week?” At that point, I began explaining to him how America’s welfare state, born during the Great Depression, had led to a $20 trillion boondoggle known as the War on Poverty. He got to learn about FDR, Lyndon Johnson and how our nation takes the earnings of his father, by force, and gives it to other people, reducing my ability to buy him more toys for Christmas.Actually, I do not recall dropping Christmas deprivation on him, but I do know that he was informed that if he wants money, I would only give it to him for honest work. The more work, the more money. I told him I would not force him to help around the house or in the yard and that he was allowed to negotiate his pay each time I indicated I needed his labor.He and his brother keep weekly logs of all their labor and we discuss their wages along the way. They are nearing car-buying ages and they know if they want a car, their labor and thus their bank account will determine if they get one at age 16 or 46. All of my kids work very hard and are not looking forward to their upcoming encounters with the IRS and the plundering of their money to support their old friends who might end up on welfare because their parents trained them in the “money for nothing” fairy-tale world.Rule No. 2 was implemented in my home much earlier.One day my sons were fighting over a toy in the next room. Like many dads, I wanted quiet more than I cared about justice. I came in, ordered them to share their toys with one another and told them to stop arguing. It then dawned on me that I was a socialistic hypocrite. After all, who makes us adults “share” by force? Yep, our government.I walked back in, apologized and proceeded to tell them that I would never force them to share again. I taught them how to peacefully trade with one another and how to work out the terms of trade by altering the offers we make. They not only have never fought about stuff again, but they are also very giving people. They learned that voluntary cooperation and trade helps all of us become more prosperous, and that sharing our prosperity, without force, is a natural human tendency.Finally, the “F-word.” My children, have never been allowed to use the word “fair” in my presence. Ever.They have been taught that the word “fair” is a disease word that robs people of an imagination of what they could become if they would just stop whining. They have been taught that since it is impossible to define the word fair in a way everyone agrees to, it is pointless to discuss it. They now have learned that life is filled with people who might be unfair to them. Their job is to find a mirror and reflect on what they can do to put themselves in a better position to deal with unfairness and overcome it. No excuses. No whining.It has not been easy, but they have accepted this concept and are now flourishing in school, sports and life.Happy Father’s Day — and good luck.Jack A. Chambless is an economics professor at Valencia College and a senior fellow with the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee.Article: