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A Cap for Steve

Category: Books | Age Group: 14-16


The Value and Purpose of Money


A copy of the short story A Cap for Steve by Morley Callaghan.


Too often adolescents see money as a major source of happiness believing—and that, if they just had lots of money, they would be happy because they could buy everything they wanted. They, therefore, put great emphasis on the acquisition of money. At a young age, most have not had a chance to gather the insight that frequently comes from age and experience—and that is that “money can’t buy happiness.” Money plays an important role in our economy and society—but parents and guardians often face the challenge of helping children understand that a quest for money is seldom a foundation on which life’s happiness is built. It is important that young people understand the role that money plays and why we have money—and how it can be used to help achieve our goals—but only some of our goals. And, money is likely not the most important resource when it comes to building a happy life.

  • Talk with your child about what they see as the value of money.
  • Ask them what they think of the old adage—money can’t buy happiness—true or false? Talk with them about what makes them happy—what have been some of their happiest times and moments. To what degree did money play a role in those times?
  • Suggest that you both read the short story A Cap for Steve since it is an example of how this topic can be discussed.
  • After you have both read the story, discuss what insights about money and possessions were acquired by Steve and his father, Dave.
  • Talk about whether your son or daughter’s attitude toward money has been affected in any way—and if so, in what way? Might it have made them think about doing anything differently now?
  • If your son or daughter indicates that he or she has possibly changed their view in any way, talk about how it may have changed and what the consequences of that may be.