Monday, April 28, 2008

How to teach kids about money

I was in the car on the way to the store listening to my 7 year old and my 10 year old talking to their 8 year old cousin. They were talking about money, they were busy explaining to their cousin why he should not spend his money in the store, he should put it in the bank. "The bank will actually pay you money if you put your money in the bank but you can take your money out anytime you want." My 10 year old then said that "If I had a million dollars I would put it in the bank and they would pay me $.10 a minute to keep it there even when I am sleeping." I'm not sure here he got his information but, he was not too far off: a million dollars at 10% interest is closer to 9.5 cents a minute. That may not sound like a lot but, it adds up to about $49,800.00 a year. I'm not sure where my kids got their information from, I don't think they learned it in school! I they learned it from their financial genius father. He makes sure to explain the workings of money to the our older boys all the time. It has probably been overheard by their brothers.

It got me thinking about how we teach our kids about money. I can think of a couple of instances that have helped us to teach our boys.

I remember when I was about 16 or 17 when my dad out of the blue said to me "How would you like to have 15% to 20% more money without working any harder or doing anymore work?" of course I was interested, He went on to explain that if I wanted to buy something I should save up for it instead of charging it. I would be earning interest in the money I was saving instead of paying interest on the money I had borrowed. ( %5 interest earned plus 15% interest saved) And I could sleep well knowing I was not in debt to anyone. I always remembered that lesson, and I strive to never be in debt. Of course I have passed that story along to my kids.

Another success came when we were going on a vacation. We were tired of the kids asking for goodies at every gift shop and store we went into. Before we left for our vacation we gave each of the kids a ten dollar bill and told them that this was their money to spend, when we went to anyplace and they wanted to buy something they would have pay for it themselves and any money that was left over they could keep. The kids were quite young they were thrilled at having so much money. On that trip when the kids would ask for something all we would do is ask "do you have enough money for it?" It worked wonders! No whining or begging! The kids stopped bugging us for things, they learned about money and how to make good choices, the kids came home with money in their pockets, and it saved mom and dad some money also.

Don't let society's messages "things give you happiness" and "you should have instant gratification for the things you want", be the only source of learning about money that your children receive. Don't be afraid to talk to children about money.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How to be happy

"Don't Be Such a Crab" mini watercolor ACEO 2.5"x3.5"
Do I want to be happy or not? Being happy is all in how I look at it:

I could go around angry that my little boy had a brain tumor and is blind and half bald. or I could be grateful that he is still alive.

I could be bitter that we have to spend at least $3,000 every year on medical bills for his MRIs and treatments for the next 11 years, or I could be grateful for the insurance to cover the rest of his medical bills.

I could be upset that I have to deal with the hassle of putting a hairpiece on my 7 year old everyday or I could be happy that he has a hairpiece to put on.

I could be frustrated by the mess that my kids leave all the time or I could be happy to have kids to leave a mess and a nice home for them to mess up.

I could be bitter or I can be happy It is MY choice. I have decided to be happy. Sometimes I just need a reminder.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Breaking braces and rules

My 10 year olds teeth looked nice and straight so I was surprised when he told me that his lover teeth were making sores on the roof of his mouth. He was very excited when the dentist told him he would need braces. (He was also very excited when he had to get stitches.)

His two older brothers haven't needed braces and I have never had them so the experience is new to me. When we got the braces his orthodontist gave him a long lecture on what he could not eat. My son was given a long "no, no, list" of things he can't eat to put on the fridge as a reminder: no suckers, no jolly ranchers, no gum, no popcorn, etc. He was being very good about what he was eating and following the list.

One week later my boy came up to my and said he had broken a bracket on his braces. I asked him what had happened. He said "I was eating a jawbreaker....."

*Arrgh* "you are not supposed to be eating jawbreakers" I grumbled

He brought me over to the list on the fridge and said "look it does NOT say no jaw breakers."

Well he was right.

We had a nice talk about following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beauty through the eyes of a child

"Self Portrait" Mini Watercolor ACEO 2.5"x3.5"

Jimmy, was watching me put on makeup when he picked up my mascara and asked “How come you put this on?”
I replied “so I can be beautiful”
He looked at the mascara and asked “can I put some on?”
I said “You are a beautiful little child so you do not need any makeup”
He told me “Mom, everyone is a children, we are all Heavenly Father’s children”
I looked down at his sweet little face and asked “Well then, do you think Heavenly Father thinks I’m beautiful?”
Jimmy looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said “Not yet” as he handed me the mascara.

Monday, April 14, 2008

sports for the visually impared: Skiing Blind

Jimmy's last ski day with the School for the Blind was last week. The School for the Blind takes the kids skiing 5 times a year. Jimmy loves it. It is one of the highlights of his school year. It is amazing how well Jimmy does on the slopes, he went skiing this time without the his "Ski Guide" assisting him much at all. His guide just skied close to him and yelled directions. Jimmy was so proud of himself and he kept saying that he only fell down once. The National Ability Center in Park City where they teach these handicapped children to ski. Not only do the kids learn to ski it is a reminder to parents that just because our kids have special challenges we have to not set limits on what they can do. It is a reminder that I need, sometimes it is hard for me to let him do "regular" kid things.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I think I may be raising a deep thinking teen

Tropical Fish 2.5"x 3.5" mini ACEO watercolor

My 16 year old came home the other day complaining that he had planned to invite his friend, Joseph, over for a computer battle but Joseph couldn't come over because he had a date.

My son has a dating quandary, he has always has lots of girls he likes and he has gone on a few dates since he turned 16 (Mom's rule: no dating until you are 16!) when the girl has asked. But, he does not want to ask any girls out, because he does not want all the girls to think he has a "favorite" (his words).

I asked if the girl that Joseph was going out with was cute. His reply was an unenthusiastic "yeah, she's really cute".

I said "too bad you didn't ask her out first"

What he said next surprised me. "mom, I don't want to go out with her, she is pretty, but that's all she cares about, what she looks like and how much fun she is having"

I'm glad that at this young of an age my boy is not shallow, I wonder how much of his attitude has to do with what he has been through with his little brothers brain tumor, watching his brother suffer, at the brink of death, and realizing at a young age what the important things really are, or maybe that is just how he is.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sometimes you have to tell your kid he's not so special

Fish Food 2.5" x 3.5" mini ACEO Watercolor

We had a talk with Jimmy the other day. We were worried that he was getting a little spoiled. It went something like this:

Dad said "Jimmy, you aren't more important than other children"
"Yes I am, I had a Brain Tumor" Replied Jimmy.
"But, that does not mean you're special"
Jimmy said "Barney says everyone is special"
I explained "Being important comes from what you do, not from what happens to you."

What we are trying to tell Jimmy is that simply because he had a brain tumor and is "visually impaired" he can't expect that he should be treated any different than anyone else. He should not expect to work any less at life, actually he will probably have to work harder. I remember right after we were first told that Jimmy was legally blind I received a letter from my little brother who is deaf. He wrote "Don't ever treat him like he has a handicap, don't let anyone treat him differently, don't let him use it as a crutch."

The problem is actually Jimmy is special, he has been through some really hard stuff, he is incredible brave, strong and tough. And yet he is always cheerful and happy, we just want to keep him that way.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Last auction site competition bracelet

This is an update on my "Jewelery for charity auction site competition". That I blogged about previously. (Is Ebay the best, Ebay wins, I think... & auction competition update ) I have started 2 more auctions benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. I am trying to see which auction site is best, ebay or I am selling 2 very pretty cultured pearl & garnet chip bracelets. this is the last "competition" auction I an planning to I should have the final results in a week or so.
These are the auctions