Things Money Can’t Buy: A Lesson for My Son


lessons and things money can't buy

My son just finished fourth grade, and aside from me shaking my head, still wondering where the time has gone (everyone always said it would all go by fast, and I knew they were right, but still…), I have also been heavily reflecting on what I could improve upon as a parent for his growth and future. What gaps exist? What life lessons need to continue to be instilled? Where is he thriving, yet, what are areas I see where he needs to grow? I realized summertime, despite being filled with camps, vacations and activities, also allows a chance to slow things down a little and focus on the big picture. A theme I particularly wanted to enjoy this summer as a parent is things money can’t buy.

Sometimes kids tease each other about their shoes, clothes or the size of their houses or even their parents cars. Yet so much of life expands beyond money and things; we shouldn’t be impressed by wealth or titles or lavish items. I want my son to truly embrace the real way to impress others. I want him make his mark in life through kindness, honesty and empathy. The older he gets, the more I feel life lessons really sink in for him.

This summer is prime time to dial in on some really valuable lessons focused on things money can’t buy.

Here are the top things I want to reinforce to my son that money cannot buy. I hope this list will resonate with other parents trying to ensure their kids stay humble and grounded too!

Respect and Good Manners

Common courtesy and basic etiquette never goes unnoticed. Saying “please” and “thank you,” holding doors open for others, making eye contact and acknowledging those around you goes a long way in life. We never know what others are going through, so it’s always best to just display respect, kindness and good manners. What do you have to lose? What does displaying respect cost? Nothing. What do good manners cost? Absolutely nothing.

Work Ethic

How you do anything is basically how you do everything. Money can’t buy you a solid work ethic. How you approach the various facets of your life will dictate the strength of your work ethic and how life’s challenges fare for you. Keep going and never stop trying. Rejections can lead to redirections.


A person’s word should be worth something. But these days, trust can be a huge issue in all arenas of our lives. Call me sappy, but I still get goose bumps when I think about the scene in Jerry Maguire where the father of a young football star tells Jerry, “You know I don’t do ‘contracts.’ But you have my word, and it’s stronger than oak.” He looked his agent right in the eyes as he echoed those words and shook Jerry’s hand, only to sign with another agent the next night. Thankfully, although it mirrored everyday situations, this was just a movie and things worked out for Jerry in the end. Ultimately, money doesn’t buy trust and without trust, there isn’t anything. I tell my son it’s always best to say what you mean and do what you say you are going to do. You can establish a legacy of trust.


Money doesn’t buy manners, trust, and most definitely not patience. This virtue is a gem and one that I struggle with at times. I hope my son can break the cycle of impetuous emotions at times that I experienced in my childhood and even adulthood. I don’t mean to sound like a fortune cookie, but if we can master patience, we can certainly elevate and accelerate our work, social, and personal levels of life.


I think it goes without saying that all of these previously outlined traits tie together. And stemming from within all of those, love can manifest and be pure. This is undoubtedly one trait that sets individuals apart. Dollars don’t always render the feelings of love and appreciation the way genuine respect, trust, and integrity do. Money can certainly get some things, but not always the truly solid and lasting things that matter.

Summertime can allow for some decompression time and a realignment of goals, visions and purpose. My son recently said, “I think you shouldn’t take the things you have in life for granted until you don’t have them.” And all I could say was, “Wow…” and then write this article, inspired and optimistic that he is on the right path.

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Andee Bookmyer
Andee is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Health Coach, ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Mind Body Fitness Coach and Certified Stress Management Coach. She grew up in Northwest Indiana and attended Ball State University. She taught high school English for several years before becoming a mommy to Preston. She has a passion for writing, CrossFit, laughing and helping others. For more of her writing, you can visit her personal "Bookerella" blog at


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