Yesterday was a big day in my life as a parent. My son had his first day of Kindergarten. Step One in his long school journey. I actually found it much harder than I expected as the significance of this day revealed itself when I dropped him off and realized that we’re doing this every day….for quite a long time!
Alas, the giant smile on my son’s face at the end of the day when he said “It is SO COOL!” made me indescribably happy. As you may expect, everything was new to him this first day. New teacher, new classroom, new kids, and new lunch experience. While I sent him with a packed lunch for the first day (to be sure he had good food), he did get to be responsible for his own drink purchase. I got to give him MILK MONEY!
Who knew 2 quarters could carry so much meaning?! This was going to be the first time where he purchased something without my help. I had given him 4 quarters (assuming 1 or 2 may get lost and I pictured him standing there thirsty with the lunch lady telling him he did not have enough money) and told him he only needed 2 to buy milk.
Now you probably take for granted paying for something as simple as a beverage. But for a 5 Year Old, seeing firsthand that his coins have value — they are not a toy — is extraordinary. I know he already knows that we use money to buy things, but picture your child, standing in line, without Mommy or Daddy, transacting all by him or herself. That trade-off of money for milk teaches the biggest lesson he probably learned yesterday. And I will bet the biggest lesson he learns all year.
Happy Back-to-School Season!
When Kristin isn’t writing awesome guest blogs for us, she spends her time in San Francisco as a Financial Planner. She often blogs about life and finances.