I have a six-year old who is obsessed with money. Mom, if I make my bed will you pay me? Hey, I just brushed my teeth, may I have some money? Daddy, can you just give me the rest of the money I need so I can buy a Ninja Turtle wallet? (The irony of him wanting to buy something to keep his money in is not lost on me.) And when other people come over to our house, he is constantly trying to sell them fruit and other random items from our pantry so he can make a buck. Some of you have fallen for it. You know who you are. I must say I’m not quite sure that apple was worth a dollar, but hey you fell for my little entrepreneur’s scheme, or more likely his cuteness.
He’s obviously beginning to learn the value of money. He understands quarters are worth way more than pennies. And that “paper money” will go a lot further when you want to buy something from Target. It’s fun to see him learn, but it’s also driving my husband and I crazy because he is constantly nagging us for money. And I’m starting to wonder if this is beginning to establish a love for material things and a desire to accumulate more cold, hard cash.
On the way to school last week he started asking me the difference between gift cards and credit cards. Then about banks and savings accounts. He knows we have a savings account for him and wanted to know what it’s for. I told him college and we talked about that a little bit. Then he said, “Do you have a special savings account for Nafe?”
“No buddy. Nafe will probably not go to college. He will live with mommy and daddy his whole life.”
“So he won’t go to college?”
“No buddy. Because of his syndrome he is going to learn things very slowly and probably always need someone to help him.”
“So you don’t have a savings account for Nafe?”
“Well we do have a special savings account, but not for college. When mommy and daddy get too old to take care of him. He’ll go live somewhere else, unless you decide you want him.”
“Well if he still slobbers then I don’t want him.”
“But if he doesn’t slobber, he can live with me.”
(In my mind I’m thinking, Oh he’s probably going to still slobber.)
“Okay, buddy. You can decide that later. He doesn’t have to live with you. Someone else can take care of him.”
“No, I want him. My wife and I will take him. Probably my kids will like having their uncle live with them. They won’t have to go very far to visit him.”
“Okay, buddy well don’t worry about it right now. You have a long way to go before you’re a grown up.”
“I’m gonna worry about it!”
I dropped him off at school stunned that we just had that conversation. He kept asking questions and I kept giving him the best answers I knew. Answers unknown to the same questions my grown-up heart has.
Here I was thinking that my oldest son’s obsession with money was leading him down this path of greed and constantly wanting to buy material things he can hoard away in his room. He’s my collector. And it frustrates me because I want him to be generous. Then from our brief conversation starting with money, I began to see that his heart for his brother is quite selfless.
Of course, he’s obsessed with money and toys and getting things. He’s six. He’s not into giving right now because in his mind, his world revolves around him. But when it comes to his brother, he is pretty sure he wants him.
I don’t want him to feel like he has to take care of his brother. In his little six-year-old heart he had already decided. Time will tell what his adult heart wants, and in the meantime I’ll treasure this conversation in mine.
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Prob 18:24
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