Our six-year-old daughter is a Type A personality.
She gets that from her mom. Any plan, any idea must be carried out at that very moment. Otherwise, why plan at all?
She has yet to learn of the key roles of time and money. And when we try to explain the importance of time and money, this just leads to more planning.
We came up with our own restaurant concept while waiting for a table at O'Neill's a few nights ago. Our concept consisted of a pirate-themed seafood restaurant called "Arrjay's Galley." She's been bugging me to buy the burned out McDonald's on the corner so we can open our restaurant there with her kindergarten classmates as the wait staff.
Finally, I had to break the bad news that 1) due to labor laws, she won't be allowed to work until she's at least 14, and 2) we don't have anywhere near enough money to open a restaurant.
So, she chooses to focus on what seems the easiest problem to tackle.
"I have an idea," she announced. "We could save up enough money."
Now, you parents out there will immediately recognize this as the classic opportunity for what we call a "parenting moment." The idea is to heap praise on positive behavior in order to encourage more of it in the future.
When you can combine this with a lesson about money and the benefits of frugality, well, that's just a bonus.
So I replied enthusiastically, "Yes! That's a great idea! I'm glad you thought of that!"
By now, she's running with it.
"We could find a can or a jar or something. And every time we find a penny or a quarter, we could put it in the jar until we have enough."
I explained how, when I was growing up we had a giant glass jar that we eventually filled with all pennies. Still, I warned her that it would take a very long time -- years probably.
But the gears in her mind kept turning. After a minute or two of quiet pondering, she burst out with...
"Hey! I have another idea. Do we have a coffee mug or something? We'll need a mug."
"Yes," I said, curious about what was coming next and eager to pass out more positive reinforcement. "We have lots of coffee mugs."
"Okay," she said. "Maybe we can get a coffee mug and go out on the street corner and pretend to be blind. Then we can ask people to put money in the mug."
"Well... er..." I stammered (Yes. I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote).
Okay, so not every idea can be a winner. What's important is the brainstorming process.
tagged: plan, parenting, family, economy, money