Friday, December 29, 2017

Money Matters

"Do you know what a half-dollar is?"

Almanzo's father posed this question.

Almanzo had been with his friends. His cousin Frank bought a glass of pink lemonade with a nickel his father had given him. Frank told Almanzo he should get a drink too, but Almanzo didn't have a nickel.

Frank dared him to ask his father for one. Almanzo didn't know if his father would give him one, because he had never thought of asking for a nickel. He had boldly said his father would give him one, so ask he must.

His father looked quizzically at him, then pulled a half-dollar piece from his pocket and asked Almanzo if he knew what it was. Of course he knew. It was half a dollar. 

But did he know what half a dollar was?
(I can't find a half-dollar piece)
His father had him recall every step of work that went into planting, raising, harvesting and selling potatoes. Then he asked him how much a bushel of potatoes sold for. It was a dollar. So that's what half a dollar really was. Half a bushel of potatoes.

Father told Almanzo he was free to spend that half-dollar how he wanted. He could buy a sucking pig that would give him litters that he could raise and sell. Or, he could drink it up.

Almanzo went back to his friends. "Did he give you a nickel?" they asked. 

"No", Almanzo replied.

"Ha, ha, told you so!"

"He gave me a half-dollar."

In disbelief they gathered round to see if this was true. They watched to see how he would spend it. Would he buy drinks for all of them? "I'm going to look for a sucking pig," he told them.*

Here is an excellent example of how to teach a child what money is. Money is hard work. 

Our boys get an allowance from the money they help to make. There's nothing quite like handling money, to make one realize its worth.

The two youngest boys helped me with baking and I paid them five percent each, of what I figured the profit was. The most they received individually in a month was $40. They thought that was a lot. Until it suddenly disappeared.

They are required to divide their earnings three ways. Half goes into savings, ten percent to the Lord and the rest they are free to do with as they wish. They are learning that money matters.

They are learning it the "real life way".

Although, not quite as real as the children whose parents require them to earn money to purchase their own clothing once they turn thirteen. I think this would make a child much more careful with their clothing!

Today I am thankful for...
...classic books, containing life lessons.
...a quart of honey from friends.

(*The beginning story is my paraphrase of an account in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.)

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