My teen son was away one day last week working with my brother. On his way back home, he called me with one request. “Ma, can you make spaghetti for dinner.”
The request was not difficult. However when I checked the cabinets, I didn’t have any spaghetti sauce, nor enough ingredients to make homemade sauce. Since Granny was driving him home, I told my son to ask her to stop by the store for a jar of spaghetti sauce. This would save me time and I could get the food started.
My son’s first question was, “Are you going to pay me back if I spend my money?”
“It shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars,” I said.
“Yeah, but you don’t know how hard I worked.”
“Hmmm, I think I know a little about hard work, but just get the sauce and we’ll figure things out later, I said.
Before the situation of the spaghetti sauce arose, I’d told my son that he would have to give me $10 of his hard earned money. This would be a partial repayment (at a much depreciated value) for a small bathroom cabinet he sat on and broke. My son’s agreement to this arrangement was a low grunt, “mmm.”
After a yummy dinner of spaghetti, garlic toast and tossed salad, I asked my son for my $10.
“Oh, I have to get change.”
His belly was full and I guess he thought my mind was so full that I would forget about the money he owed me. “Ok, we’ll stop by a store tomorrow and you can get change.”
The next day we stopped at a store for snacks and my son was able to get the money he planned to give me. When we got back in the car he handed me $7.00.
“Where’s the rest of my money?” I asked.
“I kept the $3.00 as payment for the spaghetti sauce.”
“That wasn’t what I planned, but ok.”
I later told my son that I was planning to take the $10 he would give me and put it into a bank account for him. I didn’t have to have the money repaid, but I wanted to be accountable for breaking the cabinet.
Since my son only gave me $7.00, that’s all that would be deposited into his account. And that may not make it into his account if I decide to buy lunch. If that happens, my son would have lost $10 on a $3 jar of spaghetti sauce.
There is a moral to today’s blog post…don’ try to outsmart your parents, it could be costly.
What lesson has your child learned lately?