Help Fight Breast Cancer by Donating Your Old CDs

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Anyone who has suffered and survived breast cancer, or has a close friend or family member battling the disease, would argue every month should be breast cancer awareness month. The simple fact that we have an awareness month is great strides in public awareness. Not twenty years ago, the words, breast cancer, would never have been mentioned in public. Today, we have NFL football players wearing pink to support the cause.

You can get local kids and families involved in the fight to eliminate breast cancer with a local drive to fight by donating money proceeds from selling unwanted CDs and DVDs. Get the word out to local schools and businesses informing them about the opportunity. Many sites offer free shipping and a direct charitable donation to the charity of your choice. Increasing the efforts of large regional and national charities will increase funding for support and cancer research. Over half of all charitable donations are recycled back into the organizations for support for further fundraising activities. Help their efforts by coordinating smaller fundraising drives with the support of friends and family.

A charity event can create a buzz about the organization and those involved in its support. Contact local news media regarding public service announcements to alert residents about your project. If your CD drive is an ongoing project with various drop-off locations, include that information in your PSAs and direct them back to your website for further information. Insure your website is up to date with details regarding your project. Include links to drop-off locations, dates and times of special events and a counter updated regularly to let people see how well the campaign is doing.

If you decide to have a single day drive for your CD drop-off, plan for inclement weather and large crowds. Traffic control is vital to assuring easy access to you and your volunteers. Remember nasty weather can deter people from doing something so simple. Insure you have adequate support staff to assist with donations. Provide literature not only about your charity but also about the organization that will be processing all the unwanted CDs. The more you can do to encourage people to make this a regular habit rather than a one-time event, the closer we will all be to eradicating breast cancer.

Recycling your CDs for charity saves the environment and might just someday save the life of a loved one. Organizations that offer such great services as CD recycling are doing their part to reduce landfill overloading. Supporting important charitable organizations just takes that invaluable service one step further. Take the next step to eliminating breast cancer with a CD recycling drive today. Get started and you might just save a life.

The preceding was a guest post

A Day in the City Well Worth the Investment

Recently, we went downtown (Chicago) for a fun summer afternoon and evening.  With the weather seasonably warm that day, instead of scorching hot as it has been on other days in the summer, it was a great time to go into the city. My goal was to do it while being reasonable with spending, but I wasn’t going to be cheap about it. Family time was the plan.

It turned out to be great. We did a lot of great things, and my main interest was providing my 8 year old daughter with some experiences she can remember and learn from. We first went to the Art Institute, getting to see some fantastic exhibits. There were paintings from Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, and others.  Then, we went to a couple of other landmarks in town, before eating dinner taking a cruise of the Chicago River.

Great stuff, great memories!

The whole thing cost about $85, excluding driving costs (but including $28 parking!). Pretty good for a full day downtown. My daughter got some culture, got to see the hustle and bustle of downtown (we live in the suburbs), and had fun. What more could you ask for!

Well, one of the other things that she noticed downtown was the small number of homeless people. Now to me it was a small number of people, but to her it was eye opening.

Each time we walked by a homeless person sitting on the ground, with a sign and a cup for money, she wanted to stop and read what they had written. She was stunned to see grown ups looking so helpless. I could see it in her eyes,  just feeling bad about what she saw. She would go quiet for a minute or two as we walked away. Admittedly, she did ask me to give them money but I didn’t. It’s not that I don’t believe in that – rather, I absolutely do, as I’ve discussed here a few times.  Instead, I told her that I do give once in a while, but we just can’t do it all the time.

At the end of the evening, I asked her what she remembered about the day, and she talked excitedly about some of the things we did and saw. She was truly excited about the experience, which was cool!  However, she also quietly mentioned the homeless people she saw, and how that wasn’t fun to see.

We then got into a discussion about homeless people. She asked me some questions about why those people were homeless, how come they didn’t have anything to eat, and how come nobody was helping them.  I did my very best with the discussion. These are hard things for some kids to grasp, especially if young and not usually exposed to such harsh realities.

She then spoke up more, and proclaimed that when she gets older, she would help all the homeless people she saw. She said that it’s not fair that people should be starving, especially older people, and that she’d help some people when she got older. Further, she mentioned that she might spend all her money if she had to help people in need.

Now, while I don’t want her to ever give away all her money, I’m thrilled that at such a young age (8), she’s selfless enough to be willing to put helping others at such a high priority. She truly cares and is genuinely willing to help, which delighted me. I’ll admit that when I was younger I felt bad for such homeless people I saw, but I never talked about giving away all my money like she did. Not that I had much, of course, nor does she for that matter:) But the generosity is great to see, and I’m glad that there’s been an improvement from one generation to the next.

All in all, it was a great day. Fantastic memories, and a great learning experience!

7 Links Project – Revisiting Some Memorable Posts

Recently, Squirrelers was nominated by Everyday Tips and Thoughts to take part in the “7 Links Project“.  This initiative involves highlighting 7 previous posts, based on 7 specific questions. These posts are generally intended to be a cross-section of key posts that are meaningful to the blog owner, in the context of the 7 questions.

With that in mind, I’ll address each of the 7 questions below. Hopefully, this will give a chance for you to discover (or revist)  and enjoy some of these Squirrelers posts, including those that are some older, “vintage” articles.

Your Most Beautiful Post

This was the first question, and quite an interesting one to ponder! After thinking about this, and going through prior posts, I rediscovered an old post I enjoyed writing. It was from late 2010, titled Lessons Learned from a 7-Year old and a 97-Year old.  This post included a story about how my then 7-year old daughter got a gift of money from her 97-year old great grandmother, yet felt guilty upon receiving it and felt that she should be sending money to help an old person instead. It was beautiful to me in that it reflected love that spanned generations within a family and was rooted in mutual generosity.

Your Most Popular Post

Many readers seem to enjoy the Squirreling Gone Wild series, which as of this writing has had 27 editions to date. There have been several in particular which seemed to resonate with readers, all based on the crazy and wacky ways that people try to save money in those stories.  Considering that I have to pick one, I’d go with Squirreling Gone Wild #16: The Crafty Waitress. This story was about how I encountered a waitress that tried to avoid giving me change in order to keep an inordinate percentage tip for herself. She was clever!

Your Most Controversial Post

There were a few others, but the one that comes to mind first is actually a post that was done fairly recently. It was about doctors and customer service. My take was that doctors are in effect service providers, and as such should provide a basic, reasonable level of customer service. Too many doctors dismiss patients quickly, don’t answer their questions, and do other things that most service providers wouldn’t get away with.  Clearly, some people agreed with me but some others definitely saw it another way, with the premise that it’s understandably different with doctors. There were good discussions back and forth.

Your Most Helpful Post

Hopefully there have been a number of posts that have helped readers think more about personal finance. That’s part of the reason I’m doing this, after all! I like to learn from experience and share those learnings with others. Along those lines, I’ll say that my post on 6 Key Personal Finance Lessons was one where I hoped to concisely share some lessons learned with everyone. Another helpful post, one that I think helps frame up how we look at expenses, was Time is Money – How Many Hours Did You Work to Buy That.

A Post Whose Success Surprised You

One post that surprised me in its response was the one I published on the importance of sleep for wealth creation.  I didn’t know whether anybody would view sleeping proper amounts of time to be linked to wealth generation as I did. Rather, I thought some people might be puzzled by the notion that burning the midnight oil can be harmful and just relaxing and getting a great night sleep instead is a better idea. Happily, and a bit surprisingly, this seemed to resonate quite well.

A Post You Feel Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved

When my blog was launched back in March, 2010, the readership was very small. I mean, there was just a fraction of the readers that the blog has today.  A few very early posts went very quiet, despite being work that I was proud of at the time. That happens when nobody knows your blog even exists:)  One of those posts was about considering the cost of time when trying to be frugal.  It didn’t get much attention at that point in time, with the blog still new. Today, I’m sure a number of people would have an opinion on this topic:)

The Post That You Are the Most Proud Of

While most of my posts are about money stories, lessons, and tips – I enjoy analytical looks at different personal finance issues from time to time.  I’ve done several posts in which I’ve decided to find and dive into some data to come up with (hopefully) meaningful, thought-provoking insight.  One that jumps out is the post where I introduced my thoughts on a looming silver bubble. Within 2 weeks of that post, the price of silver dropped from over $47 USD per ounce to around $34 USD per ounce.  It’s gratifying to know that the asessment was right on, and hopefully the discussion got some readers to reconsider silver at that time, and either sell or avoid buying then.

In Conclusion

It was enjoyable to answer those questions about which 7 to include in this post.  I’ve published over 275 posts here to date, and a lot work went into them, so it was fun to go back and revisit many.  Hopefully a few of them will catch your eye, and you might get some interesting reading out of them!

Also, I’m supposed to nominate 5 other blogs to participate. Here are my 5:

Life and My Finances

My Personal Finance Journey

Mom’s Plans

Frugal Confessions

Buck Inspire

Brunch with Visiting Family: Who Pays?

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with my cousin, his wife, and their kids. They live across the country, and were in the area to visit her family. We got to meet up with them for brunch, and have a short visit and reconnect.

We agreed to meet a place I had suggested, in the same town where they were staying, but about 40 minutes from my home. My thought was that I wanted to limit their driving, and plus I knew a good place for brunch for us to meet.   As it turns out, the place at which we met – the one I suggested – had a 1 hour wait. Not ideal for a group full of young children! So, we got in our cars and headed over to another local place where the wait was maybe 15 minutes.

As we were getting seated, the waitress asked in passing if we wanted one check or separate checks. My cousin quickly replied that we wanted one check. At first I paused and thought “wait a minute, I hope he doesn’t think he’s picking up the tab!”, but then I quickly forgot.  Figuring out where the adults will sit and where the kids will sit ended up distracting me a bit. Such is the life of  parents of youngsters:)

Anyway, we had an extended brunch, talked about a few family-related tings, and then the check came.  At that point, I assumed that I would be picking it up.

Why, you ask?

Well, you see, I think that if people are from out of town and are taking time to meet you,  it’s being kind to try to pay for the meal. I realize not everyone would see it that way, but I do. Now, they didn’t travel to the area specifically to see my family, as we were a side visit for them. That said, they are my relatives, and they don’t live around here.  So, I wanted to buy them brunch when I met them.

So with that in mind, let’s review the options to be considered in this situation.

  1. I pay, since I live locally and they’re from out of town (my preference)
  2. He pays, since they’re from out of town paying us a visit
  3. We split the bill
  4. We pay for what we ordered (they had 5 in the party, my party had 3)

The most equitable and fair approach for any meal regardless of circumstances would be #4 – we pay for what we buy. However, I just didn’t want to do that with family from out of town, even if it’s the most fair approach.

Thus, I just felt like the best approach was to treat them.

Well, it didn’t go down that way!

When the waitress brought the check, my cousin pounced on it like a tiger going after raw meat. He insisted that they buy, and his wife chimed in a bit as well. Despite my protestations, they bought the whole meal.

Those of you who read Squirrelers regularly might remember my article on The Extractor, where a couple I know regularly skipped out of paying for meals. I hated that. So, the idea that I let my cousin and his wife pay for the whole meal clearly isn’t something I would have chosen!

Anyway, they were well-intentioned and gracious and I hope I accepted the meal graciously, and that’s that. Of course, I have a long memory, so he won’t be able to pull something so easily in the future:)

My Question For You

How would you have handled this situation?

Would you have been like me, feeling an automatic need to buy them brunch – and a bit guilty afterwards when they bought?

Keep in mind that he may be reading this:)

Memorable Examples of Witnessing Generosity

Have you ever seen something so startling and unusual that it totally made an impression on you?

I saw something along those lines last week, and it totally made an impression. There’s a money angle to this, which is why I think it’s applicable here. Plus, it illustrates people’s willingness to be generous, so I’d like to share this experience.

So, I was on my way to the train station downtown (Chicago), trying to get there on time to make the scheduled departure. I only take a train once in a while, but when I do I’m just trying to get to the station quickly as I can. Anyway, as stepped closer to the station I noticed that people ahead that were either walking toward me or in the same direction were glancing at a something off to the side (my right).

As I got closer, I was surprised by what I saw: a disheveled old man crying.

My first reaction, I have to admit, was something along the lines of “Ok…..what’s this guy’s problem?”

Then, getting closer, I saw that he was an older gentleman. That reality gave me pause, as you just don’t see too many random guys crying on the street, let alone older men. I winced as I realized what was going on.

He was crying and asking people for food since he was hungry.

The man didn’t look homeless from a distance, but as I looked at him it appeared that he was. Regardless, just seeing this guy so distraught asking for help in that way just really hit me in the gut, so to speak. Wow, I felt bad for him. This guy could have been someone’s dad, brother….or even grandfather. Certainly, he was once somebody’s son.

How can we as a society let this happen, where an older man is on the street crying while begging for food?

Ok – I know – not exactly a feel good story so far.  However, it does get better:)

I wanted to do something to help him but I had no food with me, except this banana that was in my work bag that I took in the morning but forgot to eat during the day. I was certain it was all bruised and probably mashed a bit so I didn’t offer it, even though in hindsight he might have liked it anyway.

So, I grabbed my wallet and looked at what bills I had, and saw that I had a twenty and two ones.  Judge me if you want (it’s ok), but my immediate reaction at the time was hesitation about dropping the $20 bill on this situation. Rather, I thought about contributing the $2. But hey, $2 is still money that could help the guy, right?

Right then, a teenage (or young college) age girl walked by with her friends, and stopped to check out the situation. She opened up a backpack, and pulled out a bag that was from a local sandwich shop. Perhaps she bought a sandwich and was taking it to the train to eat on the train? 

What she did next was very cool: She opened the paper bag right in front of me and pulled out a sandwich and bag of chips. Which, as you might guess by now, she gave to the man.

I was basically watching this as I was getting out my wallet to give the $2.  Quickly, it became apparent that the kid offered up something that would be more meaningful to the guy.

But, I gave him the small amount of cash anyway and walked away. He didn’t say much to me, as he seemed caught up in getting the food and saying thank you to the kid. Which is fine, I don’t care. Just happy to see that he got that food from someone. The scene reminded me of a similar situation I’d seen before, thought that didn’t include a distressed person.

All the while after I walked onward to the station, I was struck by what I saw. I gave a little but not much, and was wondering if I could have done more. The kid was great! Most other people just walked on by, pausing long enough to see what was going on but then moving along. We’ve probably all done that at times, I know I have. But when you stop and really pay attention and see what’s going on, this was a crying older guy who was hungry. I mean, that’s no small thing!

All this being said, my big takeaway was this: the kid was more generous and willing to help the elderly guy than the “adults” out there. I guess that includes being more giving that me in that situation, too. Thus, maybe the age old mantra that the younger generations “just don’t get it” is wrong. From what I saw, they “got it” even more than people in my generation (Gen X). That’s a good thing, and I’m glad to see it!

My Questions for You:

Have you ever seen any situations that just jumped out you, in terms of another person having a truly dire financial situation?

Along those lines, have you ever seen an act of generosity that was truly great and that made you proud of the giver – whether you know the person or not?

Squirreling Gone Wild #22: Drive-Thru Discount

You can usually get a small discount at the drive-thru. No coupons needed, and nothing needs to be on sale. The discount usually doesn’t apply if you make a purchase inside the restaurant.

How can you get this modest discount?

Well, one of the earlier episodes of the Squirreling Gone Wild series focuses on the extreme frugality of a friend of mine from back in the old days. In this 22nd edition of the series, I share my own dive into the abyss – which was really for fun anyway.

So, in my quest to drop my previously excessive (in my opinion) caffeine habit, I decided to drop the usual suspects in my previous choices: soda and coffee.  To make that transition easier, I switched to one decaf coffee every few days in the month of January.  The strategy worked very well, as I’ll share in a future post. Anyway, I purchased the decaf coffee by making my way to the drive-thru.

The first time I did this, I ordered the coffee at the speaker, and was told the cost would be $1.07. As I pulled up to the window to pay, I noticed something bright and shiny on the ground. Looking closely, it appeared to be a coin!

While I had previously derided such behavior, when presented with the opportunity to pick up a coin, my instincts took over. The car door opened, I reached down to look at the coin, and saw that it was a dime.


I paid the $1.07, kept my shiny new dime, and drove off with my decaf coffee. It occurred to me that effectively, that was a nice little discount!

So, with that in my mind, I searched for change on the ground with purpose on my next trips. As I found change, I thought it would be fun to keep track of how much was picked up on each trip.

There have been 9 drive-thru decaf coffee purchases  in 2010.  Here are the results:

  • Visit 1: $1.07 spent, $0.10 found
  • Visit 2: $1.11 spent, $0.03 found
  • Visit 3: $1.07 spent, $0.01 found
  • Visit 4: $1.11 spent, $0.13 found
  • Visit 5: $1.07 spent, $0.02 found
  • Visit 6: $1.07 spent, $0.05 found
  • Visit 7: $1.07 spent, $0.20 found
  • Visit 8: $1.11 spent, $0.00 found
  • Visit 9: $1.07 spent, $0.12 found

All told, the nine visits for coffee totaled $9.75 in expenses. The total money found totaled $0.66.  That’s a 6.8% discount.

Does this seem like a total cheapskate maneuver? Ok, I agree that it is. I became a real Squirreler here in 2011.

Maybe I enjoy these “arbitrage opportunities” (as a friend once called these) a bit too much. Why did I get a kick out of this gambit? I felt like Costanza on the Seinfeld series, with a scheme like this.

Doesn’t matter, it was all in fun. I felt like the ultimate cheapskate when I tried to pick up coin that was stuck to the ground in front of the drive-thru window on one of those visits. I looked up and saw a disapproving look by the lady taking the money at the window. Felt like I was being scolded by that look at hers.

“What a cheapskate!”, her eyes seemed to say, as I looked back up. I sheepishly handed over my $1.07, got my coffee, and drove off feeling busted.

I actually saw the same coin on a future visit, and opened the car door to grab it a second time, I’m almost ashamed to say. It was stuck to the ground. I wonder if it was there as a joke, like a coin that people glue to the ground so they can laugh at the misers that try to pick it up.

Before you wonder what I would do with that $0.66, here you go: I gave it away. Well, actually I gave away more, as  I walked back in the restaurant and dropped a $1.00 bill in a charity donation box. All the change was picked up at the restaurant’s drive-thru, so I thought I might as well throw the something in the box. Every little bit counts, right – even if donated?

Moral of the story:

It’s not that we should all rush to the drive-thru hunting for coins. Rather, it’s that it goes to show that literally and figuratively, sometimes there really is money just laying around, right there under your feet:)

What is the wackiest thing you have done to either save a few coins, or pick up loose change?

Holiday Memories and Lessons

The holiday season often brings back memories of times past. Sometimes, it’s the events of today that just remind of us of times past. A couple of events in particular caught my attention, and brought back some memories.

Event #1

I was jolted into reality during a recent discussion with my 7-year old regarding Santa. She had been telling me lately that her Christmas list was “between her and Santa”.  Precious comments for a Dad to hear from his little girl, but also reflective of my assumption that she still fully believed in Santa.

This assumption was challenged when I told her that all of us can go visit Santa at the local mall and talk about the list. She told me “Daddy, you and I BOTH know that it will be just be a guy dressed as Santa. He can’t be everywhere!


Then, she dropped the bombshell. Paraphrasing here: “I’m not sure about Santa anymore because one of the things I have actually talked about, I saw last week in the garage.”

She was staring me in the face when saying that, looking me in the eye. The moment of truth arrived – could I keep the Santa story alive for another day?

I thought about saying that the gift was for someone else’s birthday, but then thought better of it as didn’t want to lie. Yes, I know that Santa is technically a lie, but let’s ignore that for the moment:)

I paused, then said, “Santa is awesome! I’ve always enjoyed Santa. Do you want to leave him milk and cookies again this year?”

She paused and said, “Yeah, ok”.

Don’t know if the cat’s totally out of the bag here, but I wasn’t ready to close the book on Santa just yet.  I wasn’t ready for that to happen this year:)  The memory that this brought back was of me, at 6 years old – just one year younger than where she is now. I made the same observation about Santa couldn’t be at so many places at the same time, and how I saw my dad with gifts I hoped to get.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I suppose:)

Event #2

A recent post at First Gen American, called Christmas without Presents, reminded me of a great teaching moment from my own childhood.

I was about 7 or 8 years old, and my family spent one Christmas visiting some very close friends in Michigan. So, we drove from suburban Chicago, making the 5 hours journey to these people’s home.

Anyway, on Christmas morning, we opened the presents as usual, and I probably got like 6 or 7 gifts in total. This included wrapped gifts under the tree and smaller things in the stocking. None of these gifts were expensive, but I was always very lucky to get gifts. Santa must have thought I was a good boy, and I actually was good, in retrospect:)

That day, I recall my Mom sitting down next to me telling me that our friends were going to invite a nice lady and a little girl over to their house. She explained that they live on their own, and don’t have much money. Also, she said she doesn’t have a Dad. I don’t know if that meant that he died, or that there was a divorce and he lived elsewhere. All I knew was that my Mom was telling me that this girl had a more difficult life than me.

Then, she really got my attention: she said that since these people didn’t have much, the girl didn’t get any Christmas gifts. Therefore, she was going to give her one of my gifts!

Needless to say, as a little kid, I didn’t react with glee to the notion that one of the gifts I had just opened, and looked forward to hopefully getting, would just be taken away from me on Christmas Day. It was as if Lucy had pulled the football out from under Charlie Brown, as he tried to kick it. (Note: If you don’t get that analogy, good for you – because you must not be as old as me!)

I protested; I complained, and even cried. I couldn’t believe it. Why should some girl that we don’t even know get one of my gifts?!

I was outraged and exasperated.

Now, as an adult, I totally get it. I’m impressed at how fair, decent, and compassionate my Mom was. She did the right the thing.

It’s a memory that has lasted, since I was so upset as a child, but now totally get it and embrace it.  This is the holiday spirit, thinking of others. I’m glad my mother showed kindness to that little girl, and allowed me to learn a lesson in the process.

What about you? Is there anything about the holiday season this year that reminds you about the days of yesteryear?

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope that you’re fortunate enough to enjoy the holiday with people that are important in your life. If you’re viewing from outside the U.S., and it’s not a holiday where you are, my wishes extend to you as well!

As this is a time for us to give thanks for what we have, and this is a blog geared toward personal finance, I would like to bring up the idea of giving thanks for the resources that many of us are lucky to have.

Now, some of us are in better financial position than others, and we all have varying degrees of financial stress. I would like to have more….who wouldn’t! That said, today is a day where as I reflect, I’m very thankful for what I do have. Sure, I view family and health as most important. But in terms of resources, I’m thankful I have what it takes to put food on the table and have shelter. It’s a big deal, considering how many folks in different corners of the world are living. Heck, even some folks among us struggle big time.

So, as I spend time with family, eating and maybe having football on in the background, I give thanks for the abundance. It’s a great thing!

I hope you enjoy the day

Do we Incur “Debt” Through our Childhood?

Many of us, at one time or another in our lives, have had some debt we had to repay.  Along the way, we (ideally) try to eliminate it as quickly as possible. Some of us even take the step of using a debt snowball.  Whether it takes the form of student loans, car loans, or a mortgage – we independently make decisions to allow debt can into our lives at different stages of adulthood.

What about debt incurred during childhood?

At first glance, that sounds awful. But think about it: when you were born, you needed nourishment and shelter just like anybody else. Beyond that, you needed far more time and attention than even child just a bit older. You just weren’t able to take care of yourself and provide for your own needs. You needed help; without it, survival would be a moot point.

As an older kid, when you could function independently, you didn’t survive independently.  Whether it was both of your parents, just one of your parents, or another guardian – someone was there to make sure that you had food to eat, and a roof over your head.

Even as a young adult, you still might be getting help from your parents. Maybe they let you move in with them at some point, or helped you with short term loan. Or, perhaps they helped defray some costs for your education or wedding. Maybe they just give you timely advice and nothing else at all. Either way, while you don’t need them the same way as you did when you were a kid, they might provide help to you in some way.

Hopefully, along each of these stages, there was a strong level of love and emotional support accompanying the caretaking.

Many people might say that these actions are the obligations of a parent. I would agree. Certainly, before the age of 18, they are unquestionably the obligations of parents. We all must take care of our kids and make sure they are provided for. Not excessively spoiled (as I witnessed recently), but taken care of. It’s a parent’s job. Hopefully it’s a parent’s pleasure as well.

Regardless of this parental duty, the reality is that for many of us, there was a ton of time, effort, and emotion in raising us. Probably at least some hard-earned money as well.  A lot of sacrifices were made for our benefit.

The way I view it, if we receive such care, then we’re indebted to our parents.

What does this “debt” mean? Well, it could mean helping them as they get older.  Perhaps ensuring that they can be driven to the doctor if need be.  Or, maybe it’s physically caring for them if they need help. Maybe it’s allowing them to spend quality time spoiling their grandkids.

Or, perhaps, it’s a just matter of picking up the phone to talk. Tell them what’s going on in your life, and ask them about theirs.

Not everybody was fortunate enough to grow up with 2 parents, or even one parent, to help them. Even those with parents or a single parent might not have been given a loving childhood. For those folks, it’s hard for any of us to judge your thoughts about owing anybody anything at all. Lives can be complicated, and not everyone has had a good experience. Maybe you feel like you’re owed something and missed out.

That said, however, many of us have in fact been lucky. Parents who have invested so much of their heart and soul – not to mention time and money –into their kids deserve to be “paid” back in some way. It doesn’t have to be monetary, obviously, but they’re owed some time, attention, and support as they get older.

Now, to be sure, many parents don’t want to burden their kids, and don’t want kids to be obligated. That’s very honorable, of course.

But voluntarily repaying them through caring about them and appreciating all they did might make them feel good.

What do you think?