I sometimes feel guilty about what I did to our daughter. Was I being mean or wise? I’m still not entirely sure. This goes back a few years to when our daughter, let’s call her Penny, was about 8 years old. She was getting a small allowance that seemed to take care of her miscellaneous wants. But there came a day when that allowance wasn’t enough for what she wanted.
We did not make her allowance contingent on doing certain chores as we wanted those everyday responsibilities to be just part of her routine. When our kids wanted more money than they had, they could do extra chores to earn it. I kept a list of chores and what they paid on the refrigerator. Mostly the kids would pick the easier chores even if they paid less. Human nature perhaps.
Penny seemed happy with this situation until she saw an amazingly beautiful stuffed elephant. I wasn’t interested in getting it for her birthday or Christmas because she had so many stuffed animals already that she didn’t play with very often. But this elephant was big enough to give a decent hug. It was a luxurious gray plush with pink satin ear linings. It was love at first sight.
You can’t reason with love. She begged all through my arguments for not getting it. She said she would pay me back if I bought it. I felt a little like Scrooge at this point, but it did seem to be a learning opportunity. So I agreed. I should say that I had never done this before this incident and never again afterwards.
Basically, Penny had to forgo her allowance until the gorgeous pachyderm was paid off. You can guess what happened. Her infatuation (yes, I’m calling it that) wore off long before the payments stopped. I suppose I could have handed her allowance and then make her hand it back to really emphasize the transaction. But we just kept a record of it. Funny thing, she never begged to repeat the situation.
|An Elephant Never Forgets!|
To this day I feel guilty. Recently I asked her if she remembered buying the elephant on credit. She certainly did! I told her I felt like a mean mom for doing it, but she said she has thought of that elephant many times as an important lesson.
Penny is in her 20’s now and really does handle her money wisely. She doesn’t buy unnecessary things even when she can afford them. She makes a good salary, but she still watches for sales. She pays off her credit card in full each month. She’s currently saving for a house down payment. All I can say is, “That’s my girl!”
Have you found ways to teach your kids about money? Sometimes it’s the little things and sometimes it’s the bigger things, like a big beautiful elephant.