I have been curiously watching my kids count their money these last few days and I finally decided to find out exactly what all the interest in money was about. Turns out that my drummer boy had found what he thought was a Nintendo DS for $7.98 on the Internet. I explained to him that what he had actually found was a cover for the DS and then showed him that the DS was actually over $200.
I told him that it would take a long time to save up $200 and the money he earned this month must go towards Christmas presents for his siblings. This month they are to be thinking about other people, dying to themselves, in honor of our Lord who gave up His throne in heaven to be born and to die for us. After awhile of mulling it over, my drummer boy asks, “Why can’t you just give us $100?”
“What!!!” Does he think that I just have an infinite amount of money to hand out? Thankfully his sister explained that $100 would be a lot of money, but I am doubtful she really gets it either when she will not hesitate to ask for this and that. Could it be an illusion from Monopoly when they get $200 for passing Go, along with $500 here and $1000 there for various real estate properties? We have been playing a lot of that game lately. I believe it has definitely sparked some interest in the value of money in real life. But we don’t live in Monopoly world kids! You can’t buy Park Place for the $350 that you got for doing nothing but rolling dice.
So I was left contemplating and asking God for the wisdom to show my kids the value of money in the real world. I already have them work for their money. I do not give them an allowance for doing just your basic everyday chores, but I only pay them for doing what I don’t want to do and would in fact pay someone else to do anyway. You know, the hard things like cleaning out the pantry, the refrigerator, the kitchen cabinets, the laundry room, etc. When I open up a drawer and find crumbs or sticky whatever in it, I call the kids, “Hey kids! Wanna make some money?” I pay my 7 and 10-year-old $5 an hour and the 5 year olds get $3 and hour, since most of their hour is simply watching the older kids. This month I am giving them each $20 for cleaning out the laundry room shelves and the pantry. This might take a total of 2 hours, but I am giving them a bonus, so that they can buy Christmas gifts for their siblings.
But this won’t answer my drummer boy’s question as to why I can’t just give him $100. And to simply answer that I don’t have $100 would really not be quite true, since he sees how much I spend at the grocery store, especially Costco. Yes I could just say because I need it for food, which would be true, but I desire to really show him, to teach him, the reason that I can’t just give him $100.
So break out the abacuses kids! You’re going on a tour through the family budget. That’s right! In the month of January, they are going to sit down and budget with me. Every time I purchase something, they are going to subtract it from the book real time. Every time I pay them to do chores, they are going to see exactly where it comes from and how much is left. Then they will truly understand the reason that I just can’t give them $100.
Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
I had to chuckle at your Drummer Boy’s experience with the “cheap” DS he found on the internet. We’ve gone through that exact same thing in our house. My 11 year old daughter broke her DS and had to earn the money to replace it and kept finding these amazing deals that weren’t really anything at all. 😉 That was a good lesson in the value of money!