Each holiday we try to get our children unglued from the T.V, Wii, iPad or Nintendo DS. Gosh! So much competition vying for their time.
This time we’ve got them hooked on Monopoly. We’ve had the game for a long time and they’ve played it to varying degrees of enjoyment. However, I guess they are older now and they are gaining an understanding of the value of money.
I observed one of their games and it was a revelation. I saw aspects of their personalities that I was not aware of.
My son, the ever competitive soul who doesn’t put his soul into anything not worth winning, is a ruthless business man. He will get all the title deeds on one or more sides of the board and proceed to deck them out with homes and hotels such that once you pass Go you are filled with dread. Even when you are down and can’t pay income tax, he’ll come knocking on your door for his rent.
My daughter on the other hand, is the trusting individual who spends without thinking and hopes it all works out. She starts the game spending and buying land until she has no more money. She hasn’t quite learnt how to save a little bit for accidentals. She just keeps spending because for her, she wants to acquire those homes and is on a fast track to do so . However, she has progressed a long way from when she refused to spend and wanted to see money pile up and not invest. Having been on the brink of bankruptcy three times and sent to jail eight times, I tried to get her to quit but daughter refused to be beaten. She remortgaged a couple of her title deeds and miraculously bounces back, repays her debt and ends up owning homes.
There were some very tense moments as both scrambled for success. With each throw of the dice, their decisions become more strategic and focused. It would appear that I don’t have to much more to teach them. Thank God for Monopoly. They have learnt to save, pay off debt, invest and grow their money.
This morning, I was juggling my handbag, a carrier bag, my jacket and about ten books and a folder for my children to return from parents day. We are walking towards the car, the kids get in and I’m still performing my juggling act quite well. As I’m about to get into the car and try to settle everything I’m carrying, I hear ‘mummy’ for the umpteenth time this morning. Internally I screamed a blood curdling shriek; like one of those that reverberate in the Grand Canyon. Outwardly, I said ‘Right! I am going to start charging you for each time you call my name’.
Both Children: What do you mean?
Me: I’m going to charge you £5 for each time you call my name
Son: But we only have £6
Me: Then that means you only get to call me once today
Daughter: If we give you the money, will we get it back?
Daughter: Ooooo (whine). Muuuummmmmmy!!! That’s not fair! (she protests)
Me: Do you think it’s fair that you call on me two thousand times a day and I don’t get anything back? Don’t you think I deserve to be paid for being a mother? (Juvenile? I know)
Son: Well I have £11 so you can have £5 and we’ll save £6. (he says smugly)
Me: Fine. So that’s one mummy for today and no more.
Daughter: Mummy – (I interrupt).
Me: Ah. That’ll cost you £5 and I’m not counting the other three times you called my name before this conversation. You don’t have enough money to call me again.
Son: Mummy –(I interrupt again).
Me: I don’t think you guys can afford me. I’ll be happy to charge you £1 for each mummy so with £11 you can only call on me eleven times today.
Son: But how are we going to get more money if you don’t give it back?
Me: I suppose you’ll have to get a job then.
Me; Start doing proper chores round the house and we’ll pay you. Your aunty and I were washing my dad’s car when we were six sand eight.
Daughter: ooooo-kaaaaay. We will do chores. (she says reluctantly)
Me: In the past ten minutes, you have called my name like ten times. If I had to collect money from you, you wouldn’t have any left.
Son: So you never really wanted to take our money?
Me: Maybe, maybe not.