With the 'help' of one of my young cousins, I spent this past weekend putting a starter in the car of one of my other cousins.
When my cousin asked why I didn't just take the car to the shop - my answer was two-fold.
One - was because I wanted this generation to know how to do what many from a previous missed.
Many parents think that if they could make it from the ground up - their children should.
But this thought process is like re-inventing the wheel.
This thought process leads to the loss of historical and social knowledge.
This idea (of thinking that all children need to learn from the school of hard knocks) creates a concept of "good enough for Black people" being passed from generation to generation.
The second reason was to teach him to keep as much of his own wealth as possible.
Saturday was lawn day for most of by block.
When I pointed out the older neighbors doing their own lawns and that the new-money young cats hire lawn services to do their laws on Fridays - I asked him "Why?".
He thought it was because the younger guys had more money.
But the truth was that most of the people who had a lawn service were the ones making monthly mortgage payments on their homes.
The old school cats doing their own lawns have had their homes paid for before they even moved in.
The old school cats bought their cars with cash, bought their appliances and furniture with no-interest financing (and paid the loan off before it was due), and remodeled with cash on hand.
The old school cats own their own business doing work that many of the flashy new school guys think is beneath them.
I wasn't trying to teach my young cousin to go through life afraid to take chances or to dress like a Mennonite.
There is nothing wrong with flossin' - just have some substance to back it up.
But much of this teaching goes without being taught.
There are no apprenticeships.
Many of today's children have missed these steps.
There are no longer any 'rights of passage' for many of today's youths - leaving them to invent processes to navigate the complex social and financial systems on their own (and having to deal with the consequences of their mistakes).
So besides learning how to tear out and replace a starter - my cousin learned to keep as much of his own wealth as possible - instead of spending it on others who own their own businesses.