Michelle Staubach Grimes
Michelle Staubach Grimes is a champion of literacy, kids and families. That is inspiring to me today as were the athletic abilities of her father, Roger Staubach, years ago when he won the Heisman Trophy and led America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, to victories in Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII.
Why? Maturity and the realization that reading is a life transforming habit that does not discriminate.
Michelle is the author of two children’s books: Where is Pidge? and Pidge Takes the Stage.
First and Foremost
Michelle is more than an author or daughter of a famous dad; first and foremost, she is a mom and wife. She and John, her husband of 21 years, have three children: Jeffrey, Gracie and Emma. They also have two dogs Bear and Lily.
Michelle earned both a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. After graduating from law school in 1990, Staubach Grimes returned to Dallas. There she spent a few years practicing law, gave sports management a try, and then married Grimes. After the birth to her first child, Michelle chose to be a stay-at-home mom. Several years later in 2012, Michelle, who journaled regularly, decided to kick up her writing game a notch and enrolled in the Creative Writing Continuing Education Program at Southern Methodist University. Her dream was to author a children’s novel, so she sharpened her writing skills and prepared to bring Pidge to life, which she did a few years later in 2015.
Giving is a Great Habit
In addition to championing literacy, Michelle believes it is important to give back. Some of her community volunteer experience has included work with the Genesis Women’s Shelter in the fight to stop domestic violence. There she chaired the 2012 Women’s Annual Luncheon that featured General Colin Powell as a speaker. Michelle also contributed many hours to another favorite cause, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Dallas Chapter.
Perks and Problems of Having a Famous Father
Growing up with a famous father has benefits and challenges, perks and problems. For example, one of the fun things Staubach Grimes could look forward to every year was traveling to Hawaii. That is where the NFL played the Pro-Bowl and the NFL and MLB also participated in the Super Teams.
“First, I must say that the perks outweigh the problems,” shared Michelle. “As a family, we were very fortunate to be raised by a mom and dad with high integrity. And while my dad’s career in the 70’s was football, our life was not all about football. One of the great perks of having a famous father is meeting many interesting people throughout my life. And many of these people have made a big impact on my life. A negative of having a famous father is at times, I wanted him all to myself. And as a child when we were at dinner or in a public place, sometimes I tired of people asking for his autograph. But that is very minor. Our life has been wonderful and some of that is because of all the experiences we’ve had because my dad was a football player.”
It is with great pleasure we now present some of memories and insights on kids and money from Michelle Staubach Grimes.
To the Penny
Sam X Renick: What is the most important money habit you learned as a child? Please share the story behind how you learned the habit and what impact it has had on you throughout your life.
Michelle Staubach Grimes: The most important money habit I learned as a child was how to manage a checking account and balance it to the penny. My parents took me to the bank when I was about fourteen or fifteen and helped me open a checking account in my name. I was given an allowance and had various paying jobs in the summers. I placed my allowance and job money in my checking account. I had to use my checking account money for anything personal such as makeup, going to the movies, eating out, etc. It clearly taught me the value of money.
Twenty Cents Is Twenty Cents
Renick: At around what age did you realize “money was money” or that it had a value? Please share the circumstances or how the realization came about?
Staubach Grimes: I realized money had value as a young teenager when I was responsible for all my personal spending outside of necessities like school supplies, sports and food. I had a friend who lived in California and we’d periodically talk long distance on the phone. My mom would highlight the calls to California on the phone bill and I had to pay her for them. Even if the charge was 20 cents, I had to give her 20 cents.
Renick: If you could only teach a child one money habit, WHAT would money habit would you teach them? Please explain why?
Staubach Grimes: The one money habit I believe is very important to teach is “savings.” Very young children (around the age of 4-5) can be taught to place their money in a bank savings account. It’s important to expose your children to the bank at an early age and explain the process. If the child receives holiday money or birthday money – require them to set aside 10% for charity, 10% in savings, and then they can choose how to spend the remaining money with guidance.
Renick: What was your biggest money mistake as a child or teenager?
Staubach Grimes: Not saving enough money.
Renick: What was one of the smartest money decisions you made as a child or a teenager and why?
Staubach Grimes: The ability to balance my checkbook to the exact penny.
Focus on Children’s Finances
Renick: A variety of surveys indicate it is a challenge for parents to talk to kids about money. What would you say are one or two of the primary reasons parents find it difficult to talk personal finance with their children? And, if you have a suggestion on how they can overcome the obstacle, please share that as well.
Staubach Grimes: Financial issues have always been considered private and not for children’s ears. And especially if parents are having a financially difficult time, they may not want to put that stress on their children. To overcome that obstacle, parents need to focus on their children’s finances, not the household finances. It’s okay to explain the household finances to an extent, so children have an idea of the daily expenses in life. But I think one needs to be careful about going into too much detail at a young age. Parents can plan to teach children about money by giving them an allowance, explaining how to save funds, illustrating the value of donating to charity, and providing guidelines on the proper amount to spend.
Let’s Do It
Renick: Why do you believe there is not more personal finance being taught in schools? Do you believe personal finance should or should not be taught in schools? Please explain why or why not.
Staubach Grimes: I believe personal finance is not being taught in schools because I don’t think in the past it has been included in the standard curriculum. I do believe it should be taught in schools; however, I am undecided at what age. I would defer to the experts on when to start teaching personal finance. I think if it’s taught too young, you run the risk of young children becoming obsessed with money and the “haves and the have nots.”
While I strongly believe children need to be educated about money, when they focus too much on money, it can be dangerous. I think it’s healthy for children to be naïve about the money their friends’ parents may have. Now I realize that is not possible all the time as some people have bigger houses and fancier cars. But when children start focusing on how “so and so is rich,” then some children feel inadequate. If their friend brings to Show-and-Tell a fancy toy, and he or she only has something small, it can be tough for the child with the small toy. Children need to understand the amount of money one has doesn’t not define that person. And being rich, middle class, or poor – all children and adults deserve the same respect. Somehow this should be incorporated into the financial curriculum taught to students.
Fourth and Inches – A Tough Call
Renick: Cambridge University research indicates adult money habits are set by age seven? WHAT IF the research is wrong and adult money habits are formed earlier than age seven, perhaps around the age the “give mes” set in? What does this mean for families, schools, the financial education industry?
Staubach Grimes: This is a tough one because if adult money habits are set before the age of 7, we must rely on the children learning about money in the home. And we can only hope that their parents are setting examples of good money habits.
Renick: How can parents use literature to illustrate the value of hard work?
Staubach Grimes: There are many books about hard work. For example, in my second children’s book, Pidge Takes the Stage, Pidge must learn to sing for the school musical. As she begins her lessons, she realizes how hard it is to sing, but she doesn’t give up. Her music teacher tells her that “it takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to get spectacular results.” This is a very important lesson in the book that I talk in detail about with kids when I visit schools. I tell the students that life is not easy, and it takes hard work to accomplish great things. We all must do the day-to-day grind (the unspectacular preparation). Sometimes that is the majority of our day. But in the end, if we put in all the hard work, we will be rewarded with spectacular results. Pidge made the school musical after all the hard work of practicing her singing. There are many non-fiction books about heroes who have made a difference in the world and had to fight hard to get there too. One book that comes to mind, about a man with perseverance and who is not doubt a hero, is “Who Was Jackie Robinson?”
Parents Have a Responsibility
Renick: Any additional thoughts you would like to share?
Staubach Grimes: Children learn by example, so we as parents have a responsibility to live what we believe vs. preaching to our children. I was fortunate to grow up in a family where we didn’t struggle to put food on the table, had all our needs met and even more. Still my mom never took anything for granted. While our family had the means to buy new Christmas wrapping paper at Christmas time, my mother took a different approach… She would get up at 6:00 a.m. the day after Christmas, go to the store and buy the discounted wrapping paper so she could use it for the following year.
Discover more about Michelle Staubach Grimes at WhereIsPidge.com
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