A few weeks ago we made the journey to buy new shoes for the school year. The kids were so excited to get Heelys so we went to the local sporting goods store and spent a half hour looking at the different styles and trying on sizes to get the perfect pair.
Then my son spotted a skateboard. My daughter followed suit.
My kids pleaded with me and my wife to be able to get skateboards instead of Heelys. My wife was not excited at the prospect of getting a skateboard over school shoes but I thought this would be a good lesson in money management and supporting the kids in something they wanted to do.
So I explained to them multiple times the choice they were making. No new shoes for a skateboard. I also explained that skateboarding is not easy and requires a lot of practice and determination. The kids understand and told me that they wanted the skateboards.
At this point I had a decision to make: Tell the kids no and buy them the shoes or let them have some autonomy and be apart of the decision process, they would however have to sacrifice by not getting the Heelys.
I decided to use Grace and let the kids get their skateboards thinking they would probably try it once or twice and then they would become relics of the garage. To my surprise, the kids pull them out almost everyday and practice. My son now skates with some of the other boys in the neighborhood and came home two weeks ago so proud that he now jumped off the three steps across the street.
So in the end did I make the correct decision? I don't know?
I do know that I let me kids make their own decision and let them be apart of the decision process. I also had some foresight in my thinking process.
Next year, our kids are getting checking accounts at which time they will start to learn managing a budget and spending. Their accounts will be funded and then they will need to shop and budget to buy the items they will need for school, clothes, etc. If they buy expensive shoes, they may not have enough money for new outfits.
This lesson starts them on a foundation of real world life skills that some people do not learn even as adults (Just look at the studies on debt in the U.S.) it also is a small step forward in allowing them to make their own decisions and in those decisions some times fail. Thus comes the real life lessons.
Had my wife and I learned some of these lessons in our youth, when we were under our parents roof, things would have been different in the early years of our marriage. No buying rent-to-own furniture and getting into debt.
We constantly look for real world scenarios to be able to teach our child life lessons, this is just one illustration of the many moments that we could miss out on if we did not have a clear blueprint in our parenting.
As we say in the military "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat."