Wednesday, August 01, 2007

God's Little Boy Is....Thrifty

Some time ago we were at Home Depot and Allan saw a shovel that he thought he must have. It was a little over $8.00 and as he puts it, "my size." I knew it was about time to teach him in a concrete manner what working and saving money is all about.

We sat down and talked about the cost, what work he could do to earn some money, and the fact it might take him awhile to earn enough money to be able to buy the shovel. The very next morning he came running into our room and around to my side of the bed whispering very loudly, "Mommy? What work can I do?" Ohhhhh....isn't that music to a mother's ears!

So he has done extra things for me and his daddy to earn a quarter here and another there. We've had him do everything from being absolutely silent for 15 minutes (that really should be worth more than a quarter!), sorting silverware, carrying groceries, picking beans, to watering flowers, dead-heading marigolds, and being a "go-fer" for me. He had a little purple car that he'd put his quarter into and if we didn't pay him he'd keep on us until we did.

In the process we learned other lessons: you may not raid daddy's change cup in the dresser (that lesson also included not lying about stealing because you get in trouble two times instead of one), nor may you raid mommy's Sunday School change collection in the diaper bag. One day he asked if I would open the car door for him, I did and he went straight to the little compartment that we keep change in and promptly emptied it. It actually has been quite interesting to me to see his diligence but I knew he really wanted a shovel "his size."

 At the initial talk we also created a visual aid with a circle for every quarter that he would have to earn to buy the shovel. Every time he earned a quarter he could color one circle. That worked for the first two days. He decided that was taking too long and so colored all of the circles. I told him mommy would keep track and let him know when he met his goal. Since his daddy has been gone (last week Minnesota, this week Philippines) he's really been doing a lot of extra work so that I can have more time to play with them.

Yesterday he finally met his goal (except for the sales tax...mommy paid that...we'll wait a few years for that lesson). You should have seen us as we walked into Lowes. You would have thought the child was high on something. He laughed the whole way down the aisle and as soon as the shovels came in sight started yelling, "There's my shovel mommy! The one that's my size! I want the black one." So I took it off the rack and handed it to him. He hugged it all the way to the checkout and did not want to surrender it to be scanned until I explained he would get it right back.

So now my little guy has his own digger. We went through several plastic ones and I must admit this is a fine shovel. It should last as long as he keeps it in a place where it won't get stolen. So today was spent digging in: the shrubbery in front of the house, trying to dig up my hydrangea plant, the dirt along the sidewalk, a big hole in the garden and many little spots all behind the house. Right now I'm thankful that we don't have grass planted yet so that he can dig to his heart's content (Except the Hydrangea - we had a talk about that one.) Here's a picture of my little man with his purchase. I'm actually very proud of him!


Justin and Jennifer Harris said...

I'm so glad he earned the money for his shovel before summer is over! He is growing up so fast! We can't wait to see you guys in a couple of weeks! Love you all bunches!

Liz said...

THAT is an accomplishment! Tell him that he has a friend in Oklahoma that is very proud of him and I would love to meet his shovel. :>)

Jennifer said...

Caleb, our eldest, has a shovel just like your son's--he loves helping his daddy w/ it:)

Kimberly said...

This is the cutest story..made me laugh to see all his "resourceful" ways...and an adorable pic w/his prized possession!

Faithe said...

How pleased Allan looks with his prized shovel!! It's great to teach them so young the value of earning things they really want. Now to teach him the importance of using it correctly. :) I love reading your blogs! Keep 'em coming!

Philip Brown said...

Jennifer - 50 cents at a time really does add up. See you in September.
Lizzy - If he keeps digging in places where he's not allowed you may never get to meet his shovel. I went out the other day to a mound of mulch covering my impatiens!
Jennifer - I'm sorry that I don't believe I know you. But your son sounds as though he's a very normal boy. Dirt and digging is in their nature.
Kim - never let it be said that the child lacks imagination.
Aunt Faithe - I'm starting to believe that the younger you start perhaps the quicker they'll get it. He didn't understand all of the process but I was surprised how quickly his requests started with, "Do we have the money for..." He told me yesterday he wants to save some money so he can go to "Burber (Burger) King" which he dearly loves. Any place that sells french fries is a winner to him.