Take the money and run

I don’t try to protect my kids from every little bad thing that may happen to them. Bad times build character and teach important life lessons. When something bad happens, my response is usually, “Yep, sometimes life’s like that.” Luckily, my kids have their own personal champion and defender: Grammy. When Boy One’s Pokemon cards were stolen in Kindergarten, she volunteered in his classroom just to get a moment alone with the boy that took them.

Teacher: Ok, lets split up into groups.

Grammy offered her sweetest grandmotherly smile to the thief boy and said: Here, honey, you can be in my group.

As soon as they hit the hallway, her face darkened, she leaned over and, using her best Wicked Witch of the West voice, she said, “You need to bring back his Pokemon cards. Those are not yours and you shouldn’t steal. Understand?”

The boy didn’t have much to say, just quietly nodded and agreed to return the cards

So most of you know that Boy One has been running a little scrap metal business this summer. He drags Granddad all around Wabash and the surrounding counties on his days off to collect cans and other metal items from people to cash them in. He had a partial load stored behind the garage and it was stolen. I thought it taught him several good business lessons: people aren’t always honest so gotta stay on your toes; keep your inventory safe, etc.  It happened a couple of days ago so I thought we had moved on, but I was wrong.

Yesterday, Grammy decided to post a public service announcement on Facebook admonishing the thief that victimized her precious boy and indicting his upbringing that clearly lacked lessons in morals and respect. In doing so, she taught Boy One an even more valuable lesson: play your cards right and you can turn an unfortunate situation into a profitable one. After her post, messages and comments poured in from sympathetic people also disgusted with the degenerate scrap thief, offering to let Boy One pick up scrap from them. When I last heard, he had five pick-ups scheduled for today with more coming in. Luckily, it’s Granddad’s weekend off because it sounds like he’s going to be putting in a twelve-hour day at his side job with Swan’s Scrap, LLC.

At times like this, I realize there are still parenting lessons to be learned from my mom.

Can’t buy me love

Boy One is the most money-hungry child I’ve ever encountered. Everything in his life has a price. This is cool because you can buy his love. He would totally flourish in a situation with a rich step-dad trying to win him over. In fact, maybe I’ll try to work out something like that for him. Anyway, his love can be bought, but not by me because kids are freaking expensive and after funding everything needed to meet their basic needs, I have no money left to buy their love. So I just go without.

I would have a problem with Boy One’s prodigious greed, but I don’t say much because he has the work ethic to back it up. He will do any chore to earn a quick buck. This year, he decided to have a rummage sale. He packed up all of the toys he wanted to get rid of and instructed Boy 2 to do the same.

I’m having a rummage sale. You need to put all of your toys in this basket and I’ll tag them.

There was no agreement about who would receive the proceeds from the sale of Boy Two’s items. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of eminent domain situation. Anyway, it seemed like he was doing a pretty good job of managing his rummage sale empire until I started checking his prices: broken plastic John Deere tractor toy – $25 new, $60 at Boy One’s sale; Johnny Jump-up – $20 new, $40 at Boy One’s sale. I suggested perhaps his prices were a little out of line with the current rummage sale pricing index, but he didn’t care. For that reason, I decided to discourage the rummage sale idea and he moved on to his next venture…

Granddad taught him that he can make money off of scrap metal and now he is constantly scavenging for it. I don’t really have a problem with it, but I did have to draw the line when he started eyeing the trampoline poles.

You can only scrap things that we don’t really need or use. We need the trampoline poles if you want to be able to jump on the trampoline.

He said he understood, but that didn’t deter him from staying on the lookout for potentially unneeded metal. This is why, if you were at the public pool today, you saw my son rifling through the trash. It’s not because I haven’t fed him. He’s just looking for empty  pop cans, which is apparently more fun than swimming or going down the slide. With that level of dedication, I’d say this boy has a bright future as an entrepreneur. Or perhaps just the town junkie that scavenges for scrap metal….