The other morning when we were about to leave for church, Ansley walked up to me with big, bright eyes and said "Look!" while holding out a quarter for me to see. I said, "Oh, that's great Ans. You found a quarter!" She nodded, "Can I use it to help pay for our van?"
Recently we entered back into the world of car payments, and Patrick and I have apparently been talking about how it is affecting our "not-so-disposable funds" more than we realized. Just the week before when Addison was talking to her Nana on the phone, she shook her head, shrugged her shoulders and said something like, "Nana, I just don't know how we're going to pay for our van."
Out of the mouth of babes.
Patrick and I jokingly said we should start watching what we say in front of our kids because they pick up on so much more than we give them credit for. What were joking, tongue-in-cheek comments like, "If you keep eating out at all these nice lunch places, I don't know how we are ever going to pay for our van..." or "maybe we should re-think our Atlanta Braves/American Girl weekend that we were considering since we now have an unexpected car payment..." turned out to be much more dire in the minds and hearts of our sweet girls.
We got a good laugh out of it for sure.
Then I started thinking about it more reflectively, and I changed my tune a little bit. I think it is good for our girls to hear us talk about real stuff. I think it is healthy for them to know that we have financial limits and that we have to think about what we spend our money on, how we give to others, and how we need to save for special things.
Since Christmas, we have been reading the Kit Kittredge books that go with Addison's American Girl doll. I LOVE them, and I now love Kit almost as much as Addison because of her unique story and perspective. A little girl growing up in the Great Depression, she has to hear difficult stories of hardship from her family. She learns how to be creative and resourceful, and she still finds a way to give to and help others who are in much worse situations than she is. She learns from her frugal Aunt Millie to adopt a waste-not/want-not mentality and finds new uses for old things.
I am definitely not comparing our situation to Kit's family's, but Addison has learned so much through reading about her.
In James Dobson's Dare to Discipline, he suggests that we sometimes do unintentional harm to our children by loving them too much... by giving them things they don't even know to ask for, by making the world too easy for them. He suggests that you grow through having to wait for something you want; you grow through mistakes and setbacks. I agree with him
When I think about fruits that I want to help my children produce, I think about thankfulness, graciousness, and benevolence. Maybe, living a more intentional lifestyle with the way we use money will help their little hearts more than I ever realized.
Other food for thought: