Sydney & Denny

Sydney & Denny
September at the Park

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Learning the meaning of money.

A chance to teach something important.
I've probably mentioned that my daughter has a birthday coming up real soon. It's this coming Tuesday in fact. She turns five, and I can't believe it's been five years since I became a father. It seems like time has actually flown faster than I can ever remember it doing. I am still surprised that with as big of a nervous wreck that I was, the hospital actually let me take her home! I guess it's because my wife was with me, and her mothering instincts are second to no one's. Anyhow, where I was going with this is that she has started receiving some birthday cards in the mail. There was one from my wife's Aunt and Uncle that included a ten dollar check for the little girl to buy herself a present with. It was made out to my wife because they don't usually let young children cash checks, but it was for Sydney nonetheless. This gave me the thought that I could start teaching her the lesson of the value of money. Now, seeing how I have never really had money, or been good with the money that I have had, maybe I'm not the right person to be teaching her this lesson. But, I am her father so I guess I should give it a try.

She thinks you "buy" money!
Well, my wife cashed the check and promptly gave Sydney two crisp five dollar bills. She said "I have two dollars!" We had to tell her that the fives on the bills meant that they were worth five dollars. She has learned enough about math that she knew that added up to ten dollars. We had told her that she could go to the store and buy herself whatever she wanted and that if it went a little over her $10, Mom and Dad would pay for the rest. She said she wanted to buy "Toy Story 3." That was fine, it's only about $15, so we were fine with paying the rest. I knew the little boy would watch it as well, and my wife and I both enjoy all of the "Toy Story" films, so it was a good purchase.
While we were on the way to the store, I had her hold her money and told her not to take it out of her pocket until we paid for her movie. She told me she didn't want to give up her "dollars" and wanted to keep them forever. I guess that's good, but it's not the lesson I was going for. I wanted her to learn that we can purchase items in exchange for the money. I think it confuses her that more often than not, we use our debit cards to purchase things. So, she thinks you just swipe a card and you get stuff. Anyway, after agreeing to part with her "dollars" in order to get her movie, she asked me if I could "buy her some more money for her birthday?" I don't think my lesson is sinking in quite yet.
My daughter hates it whenever I have left the house to go to work. To the point that when she was just two years old and I worked for Coke, she tried to get me to take my work shirt off and stay home with her one day when I had stopped home for lunch. Well, I have explained to her that you have to work in order to get money to buy her toys. It was the only way I could think of to explain it to her young mind as to why Mommy and Daddy had to go to work and not always stay home with her. Now that I was, until recently, an employee of Wal-Mart, and my wife works in the vision center at Wal-Mart, and we do 90% or our shopping at Wal-Mart, she thinks we go there to "buy" our money as well as everything else. She thinks the only reason we go to the local Meijer's store is to ride the 1 cent mechanical horse! Both of my kids love that thing, and it's been around since I was a kid! So, I think she thinks that Wal-Mart is where all of the money and good are! I guess she's right in some degree, but I think she might be too young to understand completely the lesson I was going for. Or, the possibility exists that I don't know how to teach it!
Does anybody have any good ideas on how to get this lesson across to a five year old? If so, I would love to hear any suggestions. I would love to be able to teach my kids to better value money than their father has. Because I can go through money like nobodys business. I have never learned how to save it with any consistency, and it would be nice to learn that myself.
Thanks again, and have a great weekend.
Weekend football predictions.
I would like to put out a major prediction for this weekend's games. I am picking my Detroit Lions to shock everybody and beat the New York Jets by a score of 27-17. Take it to the bank, with a least 10% certainty.
Also, I am picking both UM and MSU to win big on Saturday.  


  1. You figure it out let me know, I have a seven year old who still needs to learn it.

  2. Captain, you'll be the first to know if I can ever get it figured out.