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The son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has an old-world spiritual message for today's money-rich parents: teach your children values and do not give them everything they want. Multi-millionaires want help in preventing wealth from corrupting their children's values. (Wealth, spoiling children, financial services, business.)

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How much is too much?

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion
Answer these questions with a partner:

  1. If your family suddenly became very rich do you think you would make a lot of changes to your lifestyle?
  2. What positive or negative effects might being rich have on you and your family?
  3. If you became very rich and had children, how would you use your wealth to make their lives better?

B: Agree or Disagree?
Work alone. Read these statements about children and money and write 'Agree', 'Disagree' or 'Not Sure' next to each one depending on what you think.

1. You should/shouldn't try to give your children everything they want.
2. You should/shouldn't teach them to always expect that good things will happen to them if they are rich.
3. You should/shouldn't teach them to find out what it is important to them.
4. You should/shouldn't allow them to mix with all kinds of people as they grow up.
5. You should/shouldn't teach them that they can't 'buy' other people's friendship with money.
6. You should/shouldn't teach them that money isn't everything.
7. You should/shouldn't teach them to have a job that they love, not one that makes them rich.
8. You should/shouldn't teach them to help others.

Now work with a different partner. Compare your answers with someone else. Talk about why you agree or disagree.


Reading Activities

A: Complete the Table
Read today's first article and complete this table of information:
Name:  
Age:  
Occupations:  
Son of:  
Education included:  


Article 1
Warren Buffett's son preaches values as wealth

1. NEW YORK Mon May 10 (Reuters) - The son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has an old-world spiritual message for today's money-rich parents: teach your children values and do not give them everything they want.

2. Musician and now author Peter Buffett preaches the message in his new book "Life is What You Make it: Finding Your Own Path to Fulfillment". Recently released in the United States, it describes how he wound up a "normal, happy" person instead of a spoiled child to one of the world's richest people.

3. Buffett, 52, teaches the rewards of self-respect and pursuing one's own passions and accomplishments rather than buying into society's concepts of material wealth.

4. "I am my own person and I know what I have accomplished in my life," he said. "This isn't about wealth or fame or money or any of that stuff, it is actually about values and what you enjoy and finding something you love doing."

5. People who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth can fall victim to what Buffett said his father has called a "silver dagger in your back," which leads to a sense of entitlement and a lack of personal achievement.

6. "Entitlement is the worst thing ever and I see entitlement coming in many guises," he said. "Anybody who acts like they deserve something 'just because,' is a disaster."

7. But Buffett wasn't always this wise. His own family gave him $90,000 in stock when he was 19, a small sum from such immense financial wealth. After studying at Stanford University, he moved to San Francisco and lived in a studio apartment with just enough room for his musical instruments.

8. "I was really searching," he said, adding that he began his musical career by working for free writing music for a local television station.

9. "I was kind of lost, but trying to find myself. It was definitely this strange period where I didn't really know where I was going," he said.

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE
10. As well his musical passions, the values taught to him growing up and a sense of a bigger picture in life stayed with him during those trying times, he said.

11. "I was not only not handed everything as a kid, I was shown that there are lots of other people out there with very different circumstances," he said.

12. Although many people he encounters assume that his father wanted him to go into finance, he said his father accepted his choice to become a musician beginning with commercials then his own albums and composing for television shows and films.

13. "It was encouraged for a moment when I was open to the idea," he said about pursuing finance. But he added that as he grew older, it became clear the financial world "was not speaking to my heart."

14. Along with the book, Buffett has embarked on a "Concert & Conversation" tour in which he plays the piano, talks about his life and warns against consumerist culture and damaging the environment.

15. He said he eventually inherited more money after his mother died in 2004, but by then he had learned his lessons. Now he works on giving back to the world -- another of his life philosophies -- which includes through working for his father's NoVo charitable foundation.

16. "Economic prosperity may come and go; that's just how it is," he writes in the book. "But values are the steady currency that earn us the all-important rewards."

Article © 2000 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2000 www.english-to-go.com

B: Finding Points of View
Read today's first article again. Find out whether the article says you should or shouldn't do the things below or whether the article doesn't mention the idea.
1. You should/shouldn't try to give your children everything they want.
2. You should/shouldn't teach them to always expect that good things will happen to them if they are rich.
3. You should/shouldn't teach them to find out what it is important to them.
4. You should/shouldn't allow them to mix with all kinds of people as they grow up.
5. You should/shouldn't teach them that they can't 'buy' other people's friendship with money.
6. You should/shouldn't teach them that money isn't everything.
7. You should/shouldn'tteach them to have a job that they love, not one that makes them rich.
8. You should/shouldn't teach them to help others.


C: Finding Evidence
Read the article again and note down which paragraphs you found evidence for the statements in Reading Activity B.


D: Understanding The Headline
In your own words, write an explanation of the headline of today's first article.


E: True or False?
Read part of an article written in 2000 and decide if these statements are are true or false:

  1. If you are rich it is advisable not to give everything to your children that you yourself wanted as a child.
  2. If you are rich and you try to teach your child the right values, you will probably still be disappointed in your child.
  3. Wealthy families in the past gave children more money than wealthy families do now.
  4. Children of wealthy parents need to learn that not everyone is as lucky as they are.
  5. Today many rich people are not interested in helping people who are less fortunate.

New-Rich Seek to Avoid Raising Spoiled Brats

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wednesday January 12 Merrill Lynch and Co. may work with multi-millionaire families directly or may send clients to outside psychologists and other experts as needed. The firm also provides information on volunteering, summer jobs and other "constructive opportunities'' for children.

Children of newly-wealthy parents will grow up in a vastly different socioeconomic environments than their parents and may not share the same perspective on wealth and work, [Scott Cooper, who heads Merrill's family office] said.

Instilling strong work ethics and values in children must start at an early age and must be reinforced with a consistent message, child development experts said.

Without that effort, parents are going to be disappointed in children they see as self-indulgent, said Dr. Lawrence Balter, a professor of applied psychology at New York University and author of several books on parenting.

Balter's advice to newly wealthy parents: "avoid living vicariously through your children. If you are suddenly wealthy ... you shouldn't give your children everything you didn't have.''

Parents also should make a point to show children that many people are not as privileged.

"Go to a food drive. Even if your Range Rover drives you to the shelter, at least they can help dole out food and see people in need,'' Balter said.

Cooper said wealthy families today are less inclined to leave large chunks of wealth to their children than in the past.

"Families continue to lower the bar on what is appropriate (to leave children) ... we see these families having heightened interest in philanthropy,'' Cooper said.

Article © 2000 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2010 www.english-to-go.com



F: Express your opinion
Do you agree or disagree with the following statements from the article?

1. "Avoid living vicariously through your children. If you are suddenly wealthy ... you shouldn't give your children everything you didn't have.''
2. "Parents also should make a point to show children that many people are not as privileged."
3. "Go to a food drive. Even if your Range Rover drives you to the shelter, at least they can help dole out food and see people in need,'' Balter said."


Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: How much is too much? - Short Discussion
Answer these questions with a partner:

  1. '"They want to know 'what's the appropriate amount of wealth to leave my children?'' he said.' Do you think that rich parents should leave all their wealth to their children? Why or why not?
  2. How could parents decide how much wealth is appropriate to leave to their children?
  3. How would you feel if your parents were wealthy and they told you that they had planned to give most of their wealth away to encourage you to work hard?
  4. Do you think it is possible for the child of rich parents to grow up and not be a 'spoiled brat'?

 


B: Cued Dialogue - Card for Student A
Work in pairs and follow the instructions to complete this dialogue. You are a parent and a multi-millionaire and Student B is your 10 year old child.
Before you begin, read the instructions and think about what you will say but don't write anything down.

Parent: (Tell child you want him/her to go with you to a food drive tomorrow afternoon.)

Child:

Parent: (Tell child he/she has to go.)

Child:

Parent: (Explain why this is important.)

Child:

Parent: (Tell child he/she is very lucky. Explain why he/she is lucky.)

Child:

Parent: (You are beginning to get angry) (Tell child about your own childhood: you were poor.)

Child:

Parent: (Order child to go with you. Say you will give some kind of punishment (you think of the punishment) if he/she doesn't go.)

Child:



B: Cued Dialogue - Card for Student B
Work in pairs and follow the instructions to complete this dialogue. Student A is a multi-millionaire and you are his/her 10 year old child.
Before you begin, read the instructions and think about what you will say but don't write anything down.

Parent:

Child: (Tell parent you are busy and give an excuse.)

Parent:

Child: (Ask why you have to go.)

Parent:

Child: (Complain and repeat your excuse.)

Parent:

Child: (Tell your parent he/she has said this before.) (You are feeling bored.)

Parent:

Child: (Tell your parent again that he/she has said this before.)

Parent:

Child: (Agree to go.) (You are feeling angry.)



TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY

Reading Activities

A: Complete the Table - Answer Name: Peter Buffett
Age: 52 (as of May 2010)
Occupations: Musician and author
Son of: Warren Buffett, billionaire
Education included: Stanford University.

B: Finding Points of View - Answers
1. You shouldn't try to give your children everything they want.
2. You shouldn't teach them to always expect that good things will happen to them if they are rich.
3. You should teach them to find out what it is important to them.
4. You should allow them to mix with all kinds of people as they grow up.
5. Not mentioned
6. You should teach them that money isn't everything.
7. You should teach them to have a job that they love, not one that makes them rich.
8. You should teach them to help others.

C: Finding Evidence - Answers
1. paragraphs 6 and 11, 2. paragraphs 5 and 6, 3. paragraphs 3 and 4, 4. paragraphs 11, 5. -, 6. paragraph 16, 7. paragraphs 3, 4 and 17, 8. paragraph 15.

D: Understanding The Headline - Sample Answer
The son of Warren Buffett, the billionaire, says parents should teach their children to learn about and appreciate values as being the most precious thing in life.

E: True or False? - Answers
1. True, 2. False, 3. True, 4. True, 5. False.

Post-Reading Activities

B: Cued Dialogue - Notes
Make sure students understand what they have to do before they begin. They may try to see each other's parts so be ready to discourage them from doing this. Explain to them that not being able to know exactly what their partner will say then requires them to listen carefully before responding.

 


Via: Grown Up Me

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