Because we are such a busy family, many of my "deep" conversations with my kids are while driving to or from a sports practice, school event, doctors appointment, etc. Today, I had both Trevor and Ella with me while driving to swim team practice. The topic- "When I get a phone....and by the way, how old do I have to be before I can have a phone?" My reply, "mom and dad will decide when you NEED a phone, why do you feel you NEED a phone?" Trevor response was to call his friend. I reminded him that we have a home phone that he is more than welcome to use to call his friends. I remember calling friends and talking on the phone and making plans with my friends, I get it! He is getting to the age when these are important things for kids to do. I reminded him that when I was a kid, we didn't have cell phones, or texting or the internet, and I survived. His response, "but how will I know what my friends number is?" We are so dependent on technology that my children do not know that you can use a pen and paper to write your friends number down!!! An electronic address book is their norm! Okay, so that still is not a reason for me buy into getting my 9 year old a phone, I just need to go back to basics and teach him these skills! Our conversation then continued to the costs of things. Phones are expensive. If I get you a phone and your older sister a phone that adds up! I like our summer vacations and eating dinner out once in a while, if we had to pay the bill for at least 2 more cellphones, then we wouldnt have the money to do the "fun" things. For some reason this led Trevor to ask if his dad and I are saving money for his college.... I was a bit shocked and wasn't wanting to discuss our financial plan with our 9 year old. He insisted on knowing whether his we are planning for his future. For the sake of argument I told him "No, we are not saving for your college. Who do you think paid for mommy to go to school?" They said, "your parents?" I told them, "no, I paid for my own school." This was shocking to him! He started to cry. He said, "Mom, I only have $300, I only have 8 years left to save for college. How am I going to be able to go to college?" At which time Ella chimes in, "I am 7 and I don't have any savings!" Trevor says, "that's because you always spend your money!" Ella replies, "no! I just never find any!" ****
So back to my conversation with Trevor. I explained to Trevor that when I went to college I paid for school by getting scholarships and grants. (And student loans) and this is what he will do too! He said, "well I get all A's and B's now so I guess I will keep getting them so that I can go to college. And I am really good at football, I guess I will play football in high school so that I can go to college." (Playing football will never happen, I won't let it but I can let him dream).
In the end, I was really glad that I gave him the response that I did. I feel like I encouraged him to work hard at school and to think about how his commitment to his education will impact his future. I have always told my kids that not going to college is not an option. I am glad that they have heard that message! We will continue our discussions about saving for the future and maybe we can develop a financial incentive plan for good grades and good behavior.
*** On a side note, this week $66 went missing from our kitchen counter. I thought I was losing my mind and actually misplaced it. We asked the kids and no one knew where the money went. We searched and searched and couldn't find it! I was certain that one of the girls had it in a play purse or with their toys. Aliza is known for taking other peoples money and we searched her "private drawer" and her piggy bank. We found $6 in her piggy bank. She never has money because as soon as she does she spends it, so we knew that this was likely a portion of my money. At bed time, after searching all weekend, Tom decided to look in her piggy bank himself. Low and behold, there was $60 in there! It felt so good to know that I hadn't misplaced it, but I was really disappointed that Aliza took it and wouldn't fess up!