Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yours, Mines, and Ours

Deebo: Oh, *that* bike. Didn't know you wanted it back, homie. It's right here. Follow me, homie.

Red: Yeah, it's just like it's both of ours... we just keep it down at my house. .
- Deebo and Red - "Friday"

Recently, an acquaintance of mines and I were discussing their more than likely upcoming nuptials. They have been dating this person for awhile and the direction of their relationship is headed towards marriage. The converversation shifted to discuss whether or not a prenuptial agreement should be put into place.

Background on the friend: Came from very very humble beginnings, to say the least. They value what they have, (as we all should). Sidebar: I know many people who value what they have, but I also know that some of these same folks suffer from delusions of grandeur. But I believe that is attached to traumatic childhood experiences, that often gets in the way of LIFE, because they have not chosen to overcome it, so they compensate with what they have, sometimes ad nauseum. But okay, back to the friend. The person they are considering marrying has a stable job (no home, but hey this is Cali, that's neither here nor there), very loving and caring, and very dedicated to the relationship. Both of them have children that they support.

(By the way, I am purposely leaving this gender neutral in order to keep this as objective as possible).

With that said, there are different sides to the pre-nuptial agreement debate:

The "Just in Case" Crowd:
With 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, and with laws governing divorce varying from state to state, which generally have some guidelines regarding community property. According to Wikipedia, community property dictates that most property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment, or death. And this, ladies and gentleman is the reason why people like Juanita Jordan, Ivana Trump, and yes, even K-Fed make out handsomely during a divorce. It is based upon what was earned during the time of the marital relationship. People believe that if in fact the fairy tale turns into a fairy hell, then there are contractual guidelines that will assist with the subsequent dissolution of the relationship. Furthermore, if in fact, one or the other couple becomes more financially profitable during this period, then, again, motions are set in place to adequately resolve any issues that may come up.

The "For Better or for Worse"
Crowd: The believe that you are setting up your marriage on a conditional basis is often tantamount to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Many folks believe that it is then, that you are watering down your vows to nothing more than a legal mantra of gobbledygook that you have to proceed with in order to make it official. Believing that you are putting your personal treasures ahead of your feelings, the conditional aspects of what one considers a binding love affair can be lauded as nothing more as say, a "bidness" arrangement. And, to the argument that if a person becomes more financially profitable during the relationship, then so be it. It was during the relationship, marriage is a two partner, one way street, and why not, indeed, share in the "Better" factor of the relationship?

Both sides have valid arguments. Both sides, also, have valid flaws (depending on your interpretation or position).

What are your thoughts on Pre-Nup's? Agree, disagree, or on the fence?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And Spoil The Child

Everyone does it, thinks it, wants it, or hopes for it.

A better life for yourself. An even better life for your children (whether you are a parent or not - can be a future dream). Is there a such thing as excess? Is it relative to your income, or are some things just too much.

Someone told me that Rick and Kathy Hilton were on a talk show, and they were talking about the riches that they provide to their children. Both of their responses were "And so what if we do give them a lot of things? They are our children, and we want to share in our wealth with them." This is, in fact, more of a high end version of what most parents want to do with their children. After all, you are not going to dress like a prince, and your child a pauper? Certainly not (even though some ghettofabulous biotches have been known to do this).

But where is the dividing line? Is there one? In a culture where parents (both male and female) are positioned to work harder, stronger and longer, gifts often times are bestowed upon children both as a result of financial privilege, as well as guilt (on occasion). I remember when I was a child, often times, I got all of what I needed, and some of what I wanted, but if there was something extra special that I wanted, well I had to work for it; help out in and out the house, and do a little more to get it. And subsequently, I would be rewarded with it.

In our ever evolving culture, the must have Ipod turns into the please can I have the video ipod, to the ABSOLUTELY GOTTA HAVE I-Phone. The must have PS2 turns into the GOTTA get PS3. When walking around the corner turns into "take me around the corner", then the times have changed. Certainly, kids needs and requests are no different than the many, many things that we used to beg our parents for, just manifested in an electronic sense.

Do the children today (even as young as kindergarten) authentically know the value of money, and how that, and their credit score, and their subsequent choices thereof, reflect and affect the rest of their lives. Are they taught that with rewards, also comes expectations? I know a friend of mines, their child (11) keeps getting into trouble (talking and performance) at school. Punishment is inflicted, yet, but I don't think they are penetrating the punishment where it will hurt. Meaning, this child excels at one particular sport. I mean HE EXCELS at it and adores it. To the point where he is enrolled in classes, (to the tune of 100.00 bucks a month) separate from his school curriculum, as well as summer camp for the sport. The punishment that has been inflicted upon him is no TV, Playstation, Etc, for a weekend. But then he still goes out to play basketball! Listen, if he can't keep up with his academics, then certainly he shouldn't be allowed to keep up with the sports segment of his life. Yet, he is constantly taking weekend tournament trips, not to mention inundated with new video games. This is no fault of his own. He doesn't have a boundary. By no means am I saying that he should not engage in his craft (of sports), but certainly not at the expense of academia.

Most of what a child remembers growing up is not what you gave them. They don't remember something if it was the biggest, baddest toy on the block. They remember the feelings. They remember the time. And they remember the love?

Are parents overindulging their children? Do kids now have a sense of entitlement?