A Father’s Sad Truth

On June 24, Nora Lynn Sweeney was born. She is my second child; I also have a 4-year-old son, Gavin. As with most parents, I have changed my perspective of the world since having children. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about money (probably because I have an expensive infant in the house), and, as I get older, I realize more and more just how important and necessary money is.

I remember that, when I was a kid, my family, friends, teachers, and other role models told me countless times that money wasn’t the most important thing. Children were, and still are, encouraged to chase their dreams, no matter what. Evidence of that is all over popular media, with movies about underdogs who “make it” and songs about more of the same. In college, some professors, advisers, and others may try to ground students in reality, but by then it’s too late; most students already have unachievable aspirations.

To my own disappointment, I’ve made a decision. As I find it harder and harder to make ends meet, even with my supposedly white-collar job as a tenure-track professor, I’m going to encourage my children to do what they love, but only to a point. I’m going to tell them the thing that I wish someone had told me: They have to make money. Unfortunately, money is too important.

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