As a parent, I’ve learned that I am constantly afforded the opportunity to teach my sons. Some refer to this as “teachable moments.” Recently Ry paged through a Halloween costume magazine and declared, “I want to buy Bloody Bones!!”
Bloody Bones is a costume that is equipped with a device that lets you squirt blood for $29.99 and for $6.00 more, you can purchase the cycle. Without a doubt, I was reluctant to consider this. He then boasted with his nearly 7 year old understanding of math, ” I have enough money to buy it.” At this point, the light went off.
I encouraged him to consider all of the costumes and let me know in a day or two whether he was sure about this item. He then acknowledged some interest in Yosemite Sam, Wiley Coyote, or Foghorn Leghorn. I suggested he research these options. He did this and concluded he still wanted to be Bloody Bones. I told him he had to consider not only the cost of the costume and cycle, but tax, and delivery. I agreed to pay for half of the costumre and taxes, if he came up with the balance. He quickly counted his cash and handed it over. We then looked at the cost of shipping. We deliberated over the cost of 3 day shipping ($14.00) over 7 day general delivery, ($7.95).
He was willing to pay for 3 day shipping and he did. Before ordering the costume, I had him sign a note that indicated he freely made the selection for this costume and delivery date. And it concluded with a statement of understanding that whether the costume is exactly what he thought it was or not, the money will not be returned and it is his forever. I struggled between feeling guilty for taking his money and proud for having him make the decision and learn from the experience.
And then the financial bailout issue emerged followed by the 700+ drop on Wall Street. That only confirmed for me that I’d like him to learn to be responsible about his financial choices and the possible consequences of those choices. I anticipate the next lesson will be teaching him how to sell “Bloody Bones” on EBay once he is bored with it.