Friday, May 9, 2008

The Lessons We Teach

You may recall a recent post about my youngest daughter’s desire to contribute to a worthy cause, only she wanted to give more money than I felt appropriate. Later, I questioned my handling of the situation, and whether I might have inadvertently given her the wrong message. You can read that blog posting here.

As it turned out, she didn’t contribute twenty dollars to the charity fundraiser. Rather she emptied her piggybank of all its change, keeping that twenty-dollar bill for herself. It was still a considerable donation.

A few weeks later, my parenting skill (or lack thereof) came back to haunt me again. This time I was taking my children shopping – with their own money. My oldest daughter had only one of her two twenty-dollar bills. When I questioned her about her missing twenty, she responded that she had donated it to the charity fundraiser at school!

“You didn’t ask me,” I said.

To which she replied, “I was afraid you would say no.”

Ouch. Now that felt like a punch in the face. What kind of a parent teaches their kids not to give?

I really feel like I blundered this one. How do you think a parent should respond when their child wants to give away money or a favorite toy? What if a child gives something away without first consulting the parent? Let’s hope I manage future lessons better and I would love to hear your thoughts.