We were at the Nature Center gift shop last week and my children had brought their own money with them to buy something from the gift shop. Each child looked at all the options and weighed them carefully. Finally, they decided upon their purchases.
One of the girls had picked out some colorful rocks and a honey stick. I had gently reminded her that she probably didn’t have enough money for all of it after tax was added on.
But she held onto hope and handed her items to the cashier. The cashier rang the items up and the total was $0.15 over the amount my daughter had with her.
I inwardly debated what I should do as a parent. The honey stick was just $0.25 and part of me really wanted to just buy it for her. But at the same time, I knew that it’s these little lessons that can often have a big impact on our children.
So instead, I watched as she put the honey stick back on the shelf and just bought the rocks. Putting the honey stick back on the shelf didn’t seem to bother her one bit… she was thrilled with her colorful rocks.
And I realized that often, it’s these small, seemingly unimportant occurrences that shape our children’s view of money. I want my children to grow up understanding the value of money and hard work. I want them to learn how to stick with their budgets and not be tempted to spend more than they have.
While we love to bless and surprise our children with special treats or gifts on occasion, we also want to give them many opportunities where they don’t get everything they want. Because that’s life! All of us probably have many things we’d love to have or that would be nice to have that just aren’t in the budget right now.
By giving our children opportunities to learn and practice money management at the $0.25 and $3 levels, we hope we are saving them from making the $250 and $3,000 mistakes someday!