Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The only constant in life is change
Do you remember that stuff that used to clink in your pocket back before it was all replaced by debit cards and checks? You probably coveted it, and stuffed it into your piggy bank, saving it up for some special treat or another.
I can remember when I was in my teens and I would count change to have enough gas to get from one place to another. And when I was even younger and I picked up change I found on the sidewalk. I’m curious to know how many people pick it up, now. “Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.” Of course, that only works if the penny is on heads, for some reason. I never did understand that part.
At some point, the coins in your pocket become inconsequential. I don’t know when it happens. Maybe it’s when you get that first paycheck from your first job and you open a bank account. Instead of having the change clinking in your pocket, you have a debit card you swipe everywhere you go. Let’s face it -- it’s just easier to swipe a card than it is to use cash and coins.
But, I’ve recently had an opportunity to go back to change. My boys are fifteen and six. My oldest has a bank account and he’s very much in love with the debit card. He earns money and puts it in his account and spends it when he wants something. But then the six-year-old started taking notice. He decided that he wants to earn some money, too. So, change jar, here we come.
He’s one of those kids that says “I want that,” to every commercial. He recently saw pillow pets on TV. When he said “I want that,” I asked “How much money do you have?” He looked at me, quite befuddled for a few minutes, and then my oldest said “Come and help me unload the dishwasher and I’ll give you a dime.” Yes, you can probably see the upcoming pattern. Dishes were my fifteen-year-old’s job. Now they take turns. And it all started with that dime. My youngest very quickly learned that he could walk the dogs, feed the cats or the chickens, help put the laundry away, and he could virtually do any job my fifteen-year-old was saddled with, and he could earn a dime each time.
Within about a month, he had enough change saved up for that pillow pet. And he takes it everywhere. When he wakes up, that ladybug comes downstairs with him. And he takes great pride in the fact that he earned that thing all by himself.
By the way, my youngest just told me he wants a quarter for doing the dishes. It’s extortion, I tell you.
Do you save your change? For something big like that pillow pet was to my six-year-old? Or for drinks in a drink machine at work like my husband does? Do you toss it in a jar and roll it up every few years, when the jar overflows?
(Someone once told me that the only constant in life is change. My oldest will be in college soon. My youngest is going into first grade. I think that person was right.)