Sunday, November 6, 2022

The Book Fair

 I walked over to meet William after school Friday. We walked home and he was plenty excited to work for his grandfather. There was a book that he wanted from the book fair. 

We had a couple trees taken down at a rental, and Tim has been cutting the huge logs up to firewood length. Once that was done, he hauled the log splitter down and went to work. William cheerfully ran down to help him. Tim said later, 'Boy, he was ambitious today. He was rolling those logs up the bank right to me at the splitter." 

I was getting supper together and I smiled. "The book fair," I said. There's a book that he's excited to get his hands on." Tim paid him $5 because it really was a big job, and William saved his old back from having to roll the logs up hill. I said, "Well, he should have $10 from last week, so there's his $15. Later that night, we worked together raking three yards, and Tim paid him another $5 bill. He worked cheerfully, and he worked hard, and we really feel like a job well done deserves a reward.

Tonight, getting ready for bed, William asked if Grandpa had any more work he could do. 

"I don't know," I said. "You'll have to ask him. 

William stood at the door watching me brush my teeth with a worried expression on his face. 

"You've got the money for your book, right?" I asked after I spit. 

It turned out he didn't. He had dropped his lunch, and paid for $1 for a slice of pizza. He had also bought a pen that wrote in invisible ink, which appeared magically under UV light, Luckily, the other end of the pen provided the light. That had set him back $3.18 including tax. He said, "I have $5 and change." 

"You have $5.82," I said. "and you earned $10 today." 

"Yes. I have the money for my book, but I don't have the money for the bank. You told me that I always have to put money in the bank when I get paid."

"Right," I said, "So how are you going to solve this problem?" 

"Maybe Grandpa needs my help for something else." 

"Maybe. You can ask him tomorrow." (Grandpa was already in bed.)

This was not good enough for William who wants his assurances right this very ding-danged minute. 

"I could ask my mom to borrow some money."

"That's a poor habit to get into, really, William. What you're doing is spending money before you get it. You hear those advertisements for pay-day loans? Those folks are spending their next paycheck before they get it, and the worst part is that they are paying other people interest, so they're basically spending next week's paycheck plus paying someone else to be able to do that. Not cool." 

He started getting emotional. "So, you're saying that I can't get the book?" 

"No, I'm not. I'm saying that it is a bad idea to borrow money for every little thing you want. My question is 'can you get this book someplace else  cheaper?' 

Long pause. 

We went to the online used book store and found the book he wanted. It was $4.50. He protested because he would have to wait to receive it  I said, "So you're willing to spend every last penny you have to get the book two days earlier. If you buy this book, you get free shipping AND it will be here by November 9th. The other thing to consider is that you can also buy this (and I pointed out another book in the series), and get both books for about $9. Do you think it is worth it to wait the two extra days?"

I saw the light break over his face. "I could get two books, plus I'd still have money to put in the bank, and money left over, too. Heck, yeah. That's worth it!" and he was actually enthusiastic about it. 

So, we sat down and placed the order for his book. When it was done, I said, "It's always wise to shop around for the best deal, William. You made a very smart financial decision today." 

He carefully counted out the $9.08 he owed me and put the rest of his money carefully back into his wallet. "I need to text mom and tell her," he said. 


30 comments:

  1. It's a nice story and such excellent education for William. You taught him to be a winner in so many ways.

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  2. It would be good if more young people were taught these life lessons.

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    1. I think they are important lessons for these times.

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  3. I saw the light break over his face. What a brilliant description. Like a lightbulb moment.

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    1. Definitely was. He was a grumpy butt about the whole thing. He wanted what he wanted, and he wanted it immediately. It's good for him to learn to be sensible. Sometimes that involves a bit of patience, doesn't it? But finding out that he'd be able to buy two books from the series was all that was needed to bring the point home to him.

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  4. Replies
    1. It was fun to hear him talking to his mother about it last night. He sounded very practical.

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  5. William is a lucky guy to have you teaching him about money matters and work.

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    Replies
    1. Lessons for these days. We consider it a stepping stone to a successful life.

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  6. I'm too emotional, why did this choke me up some? I very much enjoyed this, thanks for sharing Debby.

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  7. This is exactly the sort of thing that should be taught to every child in school.

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    1. The thing is, Hummingbird, the teachers are urging the students to come home and get money from their parents, to make wish lists to show their parents, to set up e-wallets that the adults in a child's life can contribute to for the child to buy books. When I was a kid, the Scholastic Book program was something that you could bring home a paper with books and make an order. The books were usually less than a dollar. Much different now. These Scholastic Book Fairs are a big fundraiser for schools and I am sure there are many children who cannot afford the books. I'm sure our lesson would not be teacher approved.

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  8. You explained that well for him, Debby. I hope he carries your lessons throughout his life!

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    1. Me too Ellen. It will make life much easier for him.

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  9. Well done, you took the time to explain it to the little guy and he'll likely keep the lesson with him and it will serve him well.

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  10. Well, this is a long weekend for him here. He's quite anxious to find ways to earn money. Industriousness is the first step in being financially successful. The seoncd step is living within your means. The third is understand the importance of having money set aside in the bank.

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  11. I wish more kids were taught this. You are doing such a wonderful job with William.

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    1. The unfortunate thing is that an awful lot of kids simply don't have anyone to teach them these things.

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    1. There is something wonderful and beautiful about seeing the seed that you're trying so hard to plant in his mind seemingly begin to take root.

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  13. I know from experience, some of it sticks, some doesn't. I always hated the crap shoot part of it. Cary on g'ma.

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  14. You did a wonderful thing teaching him this lesson. I wish someone had taught me so that I could have taught my kids. I bungled my way through knowing nothing about money but making sure the kids knew at the very least, they should aim to never owe money to anyone.

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    1. I guess that Tim and I are well matched that way. We tried hard to pass this on to our kids. As Joanne pointed out, it is a crap shoot. Not all of them learned the lesson.

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  15. Love that he wants books. But that invisible ink pen's important too!

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    1. Lol. You have been discussing it with William, haven't you?

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  16. A good lesson. It's good to see books passed on instead of trashed..given another life

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    1. I rarely buy new books. I think he is a convert at least as far as THAT goes.

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