Money Matters (unless you’re my kid)
Over the years, it’s amazed me how much my two daughters with disabilities have matured. (“Mommy, I shaved my arms. Want to see?”) They’re able to stay home alone, do their own homework, cook, and even clean (when forced at gunpoint). There is, however, one area that they haven’t matured as quickly as I would like – financial literacy. In fact, their lack of knowledge about the value of money would probably make Suze Orman’s hair stand up on end (if it wasn’t that way already).
My soon-to-be 15-year old, for example, is a graduate of the Madoff school of money (as she’s made off with more of my money than I can count.)
“Katie, do me a favor. Take this $5 and buy me a newspaper.”
“OK, but only if I can keep the change.”
Her little sister, Emily, age 11, isn’t much better. She has trouble understanding the downside of having a self-employed mother.
“Mom, can I have $10 to go to Claire’s?”
“Sorry Em, Mom doesn’t have any money. I haven’t received a check in 3 weeks, 12 hours, 32 minutes, and 9 seconds.”
“But, Mom, just go to the ATM. It will give you money.”
Fortunately, I’ve found a solution to help my older daughter understand the value of money. She, of course, has other plans.
“Katie when you turn 15, Mommy is going to take you to the Sudbury Farms supermarket to get you a job.”
“Oh, no! I’m not milking anything.”
And though she struggles with understanding the value of money, her younger sister, Emily, understands the joy and rewards of philanthropy.
“Mommy, how about we take the neighborhood out for lunch?”
“My friend Lucy was feeling sad, so I told her we’d buy her an American Girl doll.”
In both their defenses, they are sometimes sympathetic when I express concern over their spending and the drain it puts on our family.
“Mom, you’re right. I do ask for too much. I’m going to start helping this family save money. From now on, when we go to McDonald’s I don’t want you to SuperSize my order.”
I’m sure, they’ll surprise me someday and master the skills they need. If not, I’ll just have to pray they do.”
“Katie Honey, that $20 I just passed you was for the church basket that just went by.”