We recently visited Will's family in
West Tennessee. While at a relative's house, our 5-year-old,
Zeb, spotted a jar full of change. He commented on how much money
there was in the jar.
"That must be a million, zillion
dollars," he said.
The relative took out a Ziploc bag and
put a few handfuls of the change in the bag. She gave the bag to Zeb.
"Thank you! Thank you!" Zeb
Now I knew that this was going to come
back to bite me. The relative was pleased that Zeb was so happy and
she thought it was funny that he thought he was rich since he had a
bag heavy with money. However, the bag had change in it, mostly
pennies. Sooner or later Zeb was going to have to be told he was not
The day after we got home from our
trip, Zeb came in to the living room with his bag of money and a toy
catalog. He had picked out about $40 worth of new toys he was going
to buy with his bag of money. He wanted to know when I was going to
take him to the toy store.
I dumped out the change and counted it.
It was exactly $1.36. I had to tell him.
"But how will I buy all these toys?" he cried.
I told him I would give him some money
for doing some chores. I offered to get a pen and some paper so the
two of us could come up with some things he could do and a payment we
both thought was fair. I explained that it might take a while to earn $40.
"But I don't want to work for the
money!" he cried.
I told him everyone felt that way but
no one got money for free. I told him how proud he would be to buy
his toys knowing he'd earned them. He slunk out of the room.
A few hours later, Zeb burst back into
"I know how I'm going to get the
money for those new toys," he said. "I'm going to sell some of
my old ones."
Hmmm. This could be good for me. I
might get some of the house cleaned out. What he doesn't sell, I
could just bag up and donate. This is his idea, right? I agreed.
He spent about half an hour gathering
things up. I took a few pictures and posted them on a Facebook yard
Less than 24 hours after learning he
did not have the $40 he needed to buy his new toys, Zeb had sold $60
worth of old toys. And he still has more to sell!
What kind of lesson did I just teach my
son? Better yet, what did he just teach me? I think I have been out
done by a 5-year-old.
Maybe he has some thoughts on our
retirement investments? I wonder if he is available to do my taxes
Melissa Kinton is a stay-at-home mom.
She is currently rearing one son, one daughter, two cats, two dogs,
two horses, and one husband. She may be reached at