Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make it rain...

As the kids and I headed home in the evening from their daily martial arts instruction, my youngest son made a formal suggestion that we spend our evening eating at the local Hibachi steak house. Note that this was without prompting or any insinuation. Also note that this...WASN'T going to happen! In fact, my answer was blurted out in my deepest Barry White voice - mid stutter of his pronunciation of hi-ba-chi! You see, when this frivolous request saw fit to exit his lips, it brought to my attention how disconnected he was from the cost of well...everything. So...to continue with my theme..."I had a lesson that I wanted to teach" and I was gonna no doubt..."practice what I preached!"

Of course we all know what happened next. All the "why's" and the "how comes," along with the "you never's," and pleadings followed. Luckily these all served as perfect introductions to my dissertation on how they would all begin learning the lessons of financial responsibility that day! Needless to say, I had a rather entertaining car ride home as I explained that "I WOULDN'T do for THEM anything THEY wanted me to!"

Later, as I stood over the stove concocting my famous marinated chicken and vegetables over spiced Ramon noodles, I broke out the Monopoly money kit and announced the opening of the Mason bank. Just imagine the jubilation that took root in the kitchen as I handed out ones and explained to each of them that this money serves as "real" bank notes that they could trade in for real cash! Each child's reaction was different. My 13 year old thought it a good idea if nothing more than to test my word. My 9 year old immediately began calculating how many weeks it would take him to buy that dirt bike he always wanted. And my 6 year old...well...offered to make it rain at the Hibachi table!

Over dinner that night, I gave them a "Money 101" of sorts on the history of it, why it exists, how it works, and what it should mean to them. Careful not to make money their motivation, I valued certain chores and put premiums on acts of good behavior and personal responsibility. After our conversation, my youngest became decidedly against any and all variations of "raining" and thought twice about trading in his Mason money for Skittles even!

To date, I must admit that they are much more appreciative than they were before and think twice about any activity they take part in. Now while I supply their needs and the occasional splurge, they understand just how many bed makings it takes to have the chef frivolously toss their shrimp onto the floor! Funny how I no longer have to answer all those "why's" and "how comes," along with the "you never's," and pleadings! You should see their faces when we do go out and I flash the bill that they don't have to pay. Then they know that "It's only love doin' its thing!"

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