Many years ago when our children were very young, I was shopping with the oldest two who were in elementary school.
I agreed on a tour of the toy department, but warned them that we could not buy anything.
“Why not?” was their immediate question.
“Because we don’t have any money for toys right now,” I replied.
“Well, just write a check, Mom,” they told me.
“Whoa, I can’t just write a check. We have to put money in the bank before we can write a check to take it out.”
They looked at each other as they tried to digest this bit of information. Then they decided that was really dumb, but when the next kid suggested just writing a check if we ran out of money, the older ones quickly explained the facts of financial life to them.
That’s one good thing about having a really large family. You don’t have to explain things over and over. The older ones are perfectly happy to burst the bubbles of the younger ones.
When one of the grandkids turned 3, her mother taught her to identify all the coins in her piggy bank one day. The little girl was quite proud of herself, and would happily identify coins for anyone who asked.
Usually when she named a coin whoever held it congratulated her and told her to go put the coin in her bank.
One day her other grandpa dropped by for a visit. Her mom told him what a financial wizard the child had become. Grandpa couldn’t believe that a 3-year-old could identify all the coins minted in the United States. So, Mother put several coins before the child and asked her to tell Grandpa what they were. The little one identified each one and dropped it into her bank.
Grandpa said, “It’s a trick, she already knew those coins.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fistful of change. He placed the coins in front of the child, pointed to a nickel, and said, “What’s that?”
The child smiled sweetly at him, scooped up the whole pile of coins, and said, “Mine!” as she proceeded to put all the coins in her bank.
On Election Day, our current 3-year-old went to the polls with her mom to vote. While her mom voted, the judges at the polls gave the child a piece of candy and a sticker.
When they got home the little one proudly told her dad, “I voted!”
“Oh you did. What did you vote for?” he asked.
She replied immediately, “More free candy and stickers!”
At first I laughed when I heard this story, but after thinking about it for a while I have to wonder how many of us are still voting for “more free candy and stickers?”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Nov. 12, 1997.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.