If building wealth is a subject you’re interested in, you may have come across the statement that rich families often teach their children a wealthy mindset, providing them with opportunities to learn about investments, entrepreneurship, and financial management.
These skills, like most vital ones, should be taught in schools, but are not. So whatever financial mindsets we grow up around, we tend to stick with. Only those who “wake up” will manage to break free from subconscious behaviors and rewire their brains for more prosperous paths.
Meanwhile, a quick spin around the social media block will make something very clear: there is a whole lot of focus on money from the perspective of lack.
What I mean by that is people who compulsively show strangers their fancy houses, luxurious trips, new cars, heavy shopping bags, and overflowing champagne glasses in need of external validation. Sure, they might be materially rich (though many just have maxed out credit cards), but they’re far from wealthy.
Before anything else, wealth is a state of mind — a feeling of gratitude, belonging, resilience, and confidence in one’s ability to realize and manifest. Money is a slice of the wealth pizza, but means nothing without health in our body, mind, and the relationships we harbor.
So how can we create the best possible foundations for it?
From the early days of human civilization, storytelling has been a powerful tool for communication and social cohesion. It is how we pass on our values, beliefs, and traditions to future generations. And as it turns out, the impact of storytelling on childhood development is no less significant.
According to a study conducted by the Hart and Risley research team, children from high-income families had heard an average of 30 million more words than children from low-income families by the age of three. This exposure to language had a profound effect on the development of their vocabularies, which in turn led to better social skills and a greater sense of connection with others.
The main routine that differed between high and low income families? Reading books.
Estimates suggest that a 17-year-old who regularly reads or listens to texts has around 50,000-70,000 words in their vocabulary, compared to about 15,000-17,000 words for a 17-year-old who has not engaged in storytelling activities.
So, to ensure that you give your children access to this type of wealth education, here are a few ideas:
- Put the credit card on ice and get a library card. Take your children to the library regularly and encourage them to explore new books and stories.
- Read to your children every day. Even just 15 minutes of reading time can make a huge difference in their language development and overall well-being.
- Expose your children to different cultures and ideas. Take them to museums, festivals, and other cultural events. Encourage them to try new foods and learn about different traditions.
- Engage with your children about the stories they read or hear. Ask them questions, encourage them to think critically, and help them connect stories to their own lives.
The short version: True wealth means way more than material possessions. It’s a mindset we learn most easily in childhood. By providing our children with access to stories and cultural education, we can help them develop the skills and mindset they need to succeed in life. And the best part? It’s free! So next time you’re tempted to swipe your credit card, remember the power of the library card.
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