I have always taken the literal meaning of values to be just that — that which we value.  What may be valuable to one person may be trash to another.  These are the foundation of our personal beliefs.. be it God, Family, or the more wordly values such as money, possessions, etc. 

To some people, career may take precedence over family, hence you see successful men and women without a partner in life, or even if they are blessed with a significant other, without children.  I do not judge them as misguided — they have simply set their priorities right depending on what they value as more important in life.

We have heard all too often about people not knowing what they have until they lose it.  Sometimes, when people provide for us as our parents did when we were children, we fail to realize how expensive it can be to sustain a certain lifestyle once we start paying our way.

I am not a stingy person.  In fact I have been told I am generous to a fault.  I spend lavishly when I have the money on the things and people that matter to me.  Yet as a working professional, I have been careful to spend wisely.  You will not see me walking dressed in a $500 ensemble — but I do have my little treasures and precious finds.  I wouldn’t mind purchasing a $200 pair of boots, but I will buy it when it goes on sale for a quarter of that price. 

As the one in charge of the pantry back home, I do not scrimp on quality nor quantity with the food I serve in my house.  The only budgetting I do is on calories, hence all the diet food and healthy food as against the “real” but calorie-laden goodies.  My personal motto is I don’t really care how much a person eats, just as long as one does not waste food.

As a child, I, too, hated eating the crust of sliced bread — and until now, it isn’t my favorite portion of a sandwich.  So what I have learned to do is eat the crust first, then save the good portion, the center, for last — this came much later in life, though.  When I was younger, to minimize waste, I cut the crust with a knife like some restaurants did back then.  So when the 15 year old started ripping the crust off his bread, I understood why he didn’t like the crust.  What I couldn’t understand was why he was throwing away practically half the slice, tearing the crust so far into the slice.  I tried to give him a solution, there’s hotdog bread (potato bread at that!) which doesn’t have a crust — that one would be easier for him to attack.

One practice my mother ingrained in me was to finish whatever it is I ate.  I didn’t have to lick the plate clean, but waste was a no-no in the house I grew up in.  She also told us to finish any open food before opening another treat — be it candy, chocolate, ice cream, milk or simply soda.  It makes good sense.  It prevents waste. 

I always have a box of cereals at home.  The 15 year old can go through a large box in as fast as 3 days, because he eats it for breakfast and sometimes lunch.  (As I am not his mother, I have long ago accepted the fact that trying to correct his diet is not my prerogative.)  He is, after all, a growing boy.  I do not buy cereal at random, mind you, we always get what he wants.  The last time we asked, he asked for Cocoa Puffs which I got in a huge box.  Knowing that he was about to run out, I got a huge box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch last weekend, knowing that was his all time favorite. 

We have time and again told him to finish whatever is open first before opening the next.  Last night I realized he had opened the new one and the last one still had a full bowl’s serving.  So I casually reminded him he has to finish the last one first.  I was shocked to hear him say he was throwing it away because he didn’t want it anymore.  I took a deep breath feeling something creeping inside my head, getting ready to come out as a scream… I succeeded in keeping it in.  I took one of the cocoa puffs to see if it might’ve gone stale and might no longer be crunchy, but it was still good.  I asked him what was wrong — and again he said he didn’t want it anymore. 

I dread to think what would’ve happened to half the box if halfway through, he decided he didn’t want it anymore.  He would’ve thrown the box away.  All I could short of storming into my bedroom was to tell my husband mockingly that I guess it’s okay, after all, he’s a rich guy.

More than upset, I am just perplexed at the boy’s sense of the value of money.  He would often rip apart or break things he no longer needed even when others could enjoy them even if they had seen better days when he still found them worth toying with. 

Maybe we are trying to undo too much too soon.  I can only say my sense of worry stems from the fact that I know the 15 year old will be a presence in Angel’s life.  Molding a child’s personality is such a fragile task — you try but can only do so much, but you want to filter out the bad before it can corrupt his innocence.

One thing I know, Angel’s not going to throw away any good cereal.