Passage 56. The Reasons We Fight over Finance
When I started doing research for this column,
asking what sorts of money fights people have, every single couple said the same thing:
“Well, we don’t really fight about money.“
Right, right,right, I’d have to say,backing away from the flame of lies.
“But we all have the occasional childish squabble, right?“
Even then people were hesitant.“Well... maybe,“ they’d say.
One woman described how her husband took away her credit card one day.
Not that they fought about it.
Or take another couple I know.
I was at their house recently when the husband came home from work with a new drum set.
He hadn’t planed to drop 500 dollars on drums that day, he explained,
as he unloaded the car, he just saw a classified ad and thought,why not?
Although his wife appeared calm while I was there,
she told me later that they had a long “discussion“ about the fact
that they had agreed to save money to buy a house
—never mind their long-planned trip to Europe this summer—
and why did he have to buy a drum set NOW?
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
“It’s a fairly common fight,
and it usually happens because the two people involved aren’t on the same page,“
says Barbara Steinmetz, a financial planner in Burlingame, Calif.
“One person thinks they have a shared goal of saving for a house, car or retirement, and the other doesn’t.“
In fact, most fights occur not because of the amount of money spent
but because of unspoken expectations that couples have
and are often afraid to talk about.
Sometimes it’s clashing styles, sometimes mismatched agendas,
but people get so rooted in their own money views
that they can’t see that their partner simply has a different perspective.
Steinmetz described one couple she advised who had this blind spot.
The husband first outlined his goals for investing, retirement savings, etc.
Steinmetz then asked the wife about her goals.
“The husband was shocked to find out his wife had goals
—and they were different from his!“ she says.
Passage 57 Washington’s Address to His Troops
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen of slaves;
whether they are to have any property they can call their own;
whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed,
and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them.
The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God,
on the courage and conduct of this army.
Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance
or the most abject submission.
We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die.
Our own, our country’s honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion;
and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world.
Let us then rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being,
in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions.
The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us,
and we shall have their blessings and praises,
if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them.
Let us animate and encourage each other,
and show the whole world that a free man contending for liberty on his own ground
is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
Liberty, property, life, and honor are all at stake;
upon your courage and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country;
our wives, children, and parents expect safety from us, only;
and they have every reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause.
The enemy will endeavor to intimidate by show and appearance;
but remember, they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans.
Their cause is bad — their men are conscious of it;
and if opposed with firmness and coolness on their first onset,
with our advantage of works, and knowledge of the ground,
the victory is most assuredly ours.
Every good soldier will be silent and attentive—wait for orders,
and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution.
Passage 58. Adolescence
Parents are often upset when their children praise the homes of their friends
and regard it as a slur on their own cooking,or cleaning, or furniture,
and often are foolish enough to let the adolescents see that they are annoyed.
They may even accuse them of disloyalty,
or make some spiteful remark about the friends’ parents.
Such a loss of dignity and descent into childish behavior on the part of the adults
deeply shocks the adolescents,
and makes them resolve that in future they will not talk to their parents
about the places or people they visit.
Before very long the parents will be complaining
that the child is so secretive and never tells them anything,
but they seldom realize that they have brought this on themselves.
Disillusionment with the parents, however good and adequate they may be
both as parent and as individuals, is to some degree inevitable.
Most children have such a high ideal of their parents,
unless the parents themselves have been unsatisfactory,
that it can hardly hope to stand up to a realistic evaluation.
Parents would be greatly surprised and deeply touched
if they realized how much belief their children usually have in their character and infallibility,
and how much this faith means to a child.
If parents were prepared for this adolescent reaction,
and realized that it was a sign that the child was growing up
and developing valuable powers of observation and independent judgment,
they would not be so hurt,
and therefore would not drive the child into opposition by resenting and resisting it.
The adolescent, with his passion for sincerity,
always respects a parent who admits that he is wrong, or ignorant,
or even that he has been unfair or unjust.
What the child cannot forgive is the parents' refusal to admit these charges
if the child knows them to be true.
Victorian parents believed that they kept their dignity
by retreating behind an unreasoning authoritarian attitude;
in fact they did nothing of the kind,
but children were then too cowed to let them know how they really felt.
Today we tend to go to the other extreme,
but on the whole this is a healthier attitude both for the child and the parent.
It is always wiser and safer to face up to reality,
however painful it may be at the moment.