Tonawanda News


November 25, 2013

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Dollar by dollar, teaching responsibility

We stood on the very verge of the “I wants.”

The boys have never been acquisitive children. Give Jim his music, a little bit of TV time and a basketball, and he’s good. Sam’s always been a marvel of efficiency when it comes to entertaining himself. They received clothes and a moderate amount of toys and books for birthdays and Christmases and they were happy.

I blame Sam’s discovery of our Wii system for the beginning of the end.

From the time we let him give it a whirl, MarioKmart was good for months of entertainment. A few gift games bought us more time. But eventually we came to that day when he dragged me into a gaming store and stood raptly before the wall o’games, eyes shining. I could see his lips shaping the words: 

“I want ...”

Add to this the realization that there’s more out there when it comes to Star Wars toys than the beloved Millenium Falcon (circa 1980s) his father allows him to play with, and the lightbulb went on.

There was STUFF out there. And he wanted it. He wanted it all.

I’ll count it as a parenting victory that we saw it coming. And one night just before school started this fall, we offered him a deal with that magical A-word attached: Allowance.

The duties were simple. Pick up the living room every evening before going to bed. Make sure your sneakers are lined up in your room. Make your bed. And in return: Money. The whopping sum of $2 a week, his to spend or stash in that Buffalo Sabres piggy bank on his dresser.

(OK, the household corporation of Keppeler & Keppeler does not, particularly, pay well. He’s 5 and also gets room and board and the odd vacation here and there. He can live with it.)

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