My wife and I love to trade stories about our childhood.
Hers is generally more colorful than mine, as her family made a point to spend their savings on as many family vacations as possible.
They were adamant believers that money is just that – money – and that family is the real gold to pursue and save. Meanwhile, I grew up in a family that was quite the opposite. I thought it was normal behavior that my family exhibited when I was younger, but I may have been mistaken for many years now. For example, I distinctly remember waking up early one year on Thanksgiving Day. I was excited to watch the parade on TV, so I turned on the TV set and sat in my PJs as I ate cereal. I noticed how cold it was in our house, so I cranked up the thermostat to get our furnace to turn on. When several minutes passed without the house warming up, I began to wonder what was wrong. When I looked at the thermostat again and saw that nothing was happening, I feared for the worst! Sure enough, my parents came out of their room wondering why it was so cold, and saw me on a chair in front of the thermostat. They immediately thought I was just playing with the thermostat and disciplined me for my “transgression”, despite me explaining why I was trying to get the heating system turned on. When they called a heating and A/C repair technician to come check on their furnace, the repair technician explained that this was due to wear and tear – not due to a thermostat setting. My parents didn’t even apologize for their reaction! That’s just one of thousands of stories like that, so it’s a miracle that I reached adulthood without any serious trauma.