One of the things we've learned here as OFWs is the value of saving. Hubby is so amazed in seeing a bank car goes to his school regularly to have school kids' savings deposited into their own bank account. Yes, primary and elementary kids have their own savings growing in the bank. Some of his students have shown him their savings and he's so surprised to see that as early as Grade 2 or 3, they already got over a hundred thousand baht (about 3,000 US dollars) in their own bank account.
This attitude has something to do with the king's self-sufficiency economy. It encourages Thais to be self-sufficient and save for the rainy days. We encouraged our kids to practice this and we motivated them to open their own bank account. At first, they had to keep secret from us if some uncles and aunts or mom and dad's friends give them money as we ask them to have it deposited in their savings. It's really hard for us to implant in their young minds the value of saving. Probably because they don't see other kids around them doing that. If our country, especially at schools, will start doing this not just planting malunggays around schools, our country will be investing a lot for the future and the generations will keep it as a tradition. In here, even kids of bus drivers and street vendors have their own bank accounts. So we don't have any excuse not to start our baby with this kind of practice early on. And OFWs like us should think ahead, not just for the present by acquiring every latest trend particularly of technology and fashions that are just fleeting. And instead of showing off by giving out lots of pasalubongs, banca dito banca don or hosting a party here and there when going home, think that you may not be renewed the next year. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we don't have to be generous. Many an OFWs ends up being busabos by being so impractical as magarbong balikbayan. OFW dependents should also remember that moms and dads have to struggle a lot being away from home so they must save as much as they can. They should know that their parents aren't picking up dollars on the streets.
I felt really bad a couple of days ago when I went home upon seeing a fellow OFW's son playing the computer all day long until late night (with a cigar on one hand, pssst!). He didn't realize that his mom is still in debt just to satisfy his luho. Tsk! Tsk! Oh, it gives me a stronger reason not to pamper my own kids with non-essential things such as computer and PSP unless they know how to control themselves or if they have proper guidance! They should strive on their own to get the things they want. And they should know how to differentiate between NEED and WANT at early age. Let them learn, earn and save. Our failure to teach them these values will fire back to us, long distance parents.
By the way, aside from the amount we send them to set aside for their savings monthly, we came up with a deal with that whenever they receive an unexpected amount from anyone, at least 50% of it will go to their savings. And it works despite their resistance at first. Kids are always kids! So Lola Carmen, Tita Glee, Tito Gerry, Tita Sandra and Tito Levi, Tita Tess, Mommy Susan, Mommy Dang, (can't name them all:), rest assured that what you have been giving is well accounted for by our young stewards. Our youngest is even luckier to start saving at age one because of the influence in the environment. We always emphasize to our kids that they need to make it a habit to save everything not only money but also anything that has value, from mom and dad's, others' or their own sweat . We tell them that the more they waste anything, the longer they make us and themselves suffer the great distance between us.
(The illustration above is courtesy of Bangkok Bank, which offers a zero tax program and higher interest rate for saving kids provided a minimum of 24 months of regular deposit is achieved.)