A couple months ago in the dead of summer, we were running late and dying of thirst, so in a moment of weakness, we stopped at a gas station and bought a couple bottles of water. Now, every time we drive by a gas station, Little Buddy wants to stop and get water. We haven’t stopped again, but he still keeps asking. He is a very persistent little boy with an incredible memory.
Last week, we were driving home from Bible study, and Little Buddy asked if we could stop for water at a gas station. I (Mr. Handsome) told him we weren’t going to pass any gas stations, which I honestly believed to be the truth. Little Buddy responded, “Yes we will, Daddy, the big one.” I responded with full confidence that there were no gas stations on our route.
Well, about two minutes later we passed a gas station. Little Buddy exclaimed, “Look Daddy, it’s the big one. They have good water there.”
I decided to use this as a teaching moment, and I told him that water costs money at gas stations but that if we waited just a few minutes, we could have water for free at home. I figured it’s never too young to start teaching financial principles, so I explained, “We only have a certain amount of money. Wouldn’t you rather spend it on toys?” He thought about it and then sighed in defeat, saying, “I guess I would rather spend it on toys.”
I was so proud of myself and my son in that moment. I had taught him about scarcity, delayed gratification, and basic economics, and I had let him come to his own decision. But as I was basking in my moment of achievement as a parent, Little Buddy leaned forward and said, “Wait! Can’t Daddy just go to work and make more money?”
If only it was that easy, I thought to myself.