What I wish you to understand is the value of money
(John Mackenzie, "Letters from a Father to His Son" 1848-1849)
What I wish you to understand is the value of money—that it is obtained by labor and perseverance, by industry and self-denial; and by the exercise of a suitable economy, it is not to be carelessly thrown away!
You know I required you lately to save your allowances until you could pay for a window you had broken. I did that not so much because I was angry with you for breaking the window, but to teach you to save your money, and deny yourself for a time the little indulgences it might have purchased for you. In short, it was to give you a little practical lesson on economy.
Please observe that frugality and stinginess are very different things. By saving your money and not always running to a shop to spend it as soon as you get it, you will generally have some in your pocket to give to a poor person in distress, or to enable you to make a little present to a school-fellow you may respect, or who may have been useful or kind to you.
The habit of foolish and reckless expenditures is a very bad one! It grows upon those who indulge in it, and is frequently, in after life, the cause of a ruin which may be dated from the thoughtless and uncorrected errors and follies of childhood.
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We have just posted Mackenzie's some 30 page booklet, "Letters from a Father to His Son". This is a practical and helpful booklet for parents to teach their children, age ten and up. It is appropriate for both male and female, old and young. Here are the chapter titles: