Five Dollars Richer

It’s a curious phenomenon how you can have two kids, raised by the same parents, in the same household, with the same rules, and yet they can be totally different from each other. The whole nature verses nurture argument comes to mind, but they have the same “nurture” and share most of the same “nature”. So what’s at play here? I sum it up by saying that they are similar but different.

Take money for example. From the earliest of ages we nicknamed our oldest son Alex P. Keaton. He was financially wise beyond his years. At six he independently ran a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway. I tried to explain the concept of change since the lemonade was a quarter and most people would give him a dollar, but he vehemently opposed the seed change. I surrendered and watched his first customer hand him a dollar and my son just stare back at him. I learned if you don’t have change you can’t give change. He was on to something. Then I watched one of his customers teach him something. “No change? Okay give me three more glasses of lemonade!”

Our youngest son doesn’t have the same appreciation for money. If Nannie gives the boys a dollar for their report cards, our older son immediately stores his dollar in his wallet. I usually find our younger son’s dollar floating around under the couch a few days later, unless he’s already spent it.

Yesterday I took the boys to a collegiate level baseball game. On our way out the door my Mom gave each boy five dollars. “Here’s some spending money for you at the game.” The boys were thrilled. We hadn’t finished the second inning when our younger son returned from the souvenir shop with a water bottle and a Sharpie. “Mom, look I spent all my money. Four dollars for the water bottle and a dollar for the Sharpie,” he beamed. Our older son checked out the shop much later in the game. “Mom there is a shirt for $18 that I really want, but if I buy it I’ll owe you $13 and I’m not sure I want to spend my own money.” “You have the rest of the game to think about it,” I told him. I guarantee you he thought hard about that purchase and in the end he went home five dollars richer.