I heard the best example of teaching kids the value of money tonight. It was told to me by Gene, who was seated immediately to my right at Barley's Taproom in Asheville, North Carolina.
The story, as told by Gene...
"I remember...it was 1978. I had been saving up my coins for months to buy a Star Wars figurine. When we finally went to the store to pick 'em out, Mom looked at my savings and said, 'You only have enough money to buy Hans Solo or Chewbacca--you don't have enough money to buy them both.'"
"But, but, but, Mom," I said. "Hans and Chewbacca have to stay together. They belong together. They're partners!"
Mom, relentless, replied, "I'm sorry, Gene. It's either one or the other. You have to choose. If you want the other, you'll have to save up your allowance and come back in a few months to complete the set."
"Aww, Mom. I thought you could pick up what I'm short!"
"No, Gene. I'll clothe you. I'll feed you. I'll provide you shelter and love you, but if it's something you want, you'll have to save up for it yourself."
Total daggers to the chest, right? Was Gene's mom cruel? Was she cheap? Was she strapped? Or was she just teaching her child, Gene, a valuable life lesson of work and reward? (It was a good lesson--35 years later, Gene still remembers!)
Based on the quality guy Gene seemed to be, I'd say the latter.
Anyway, Gene's mom's plans worked. He went with the Chewbacca and returned about two months later and purchased Chewbacca's sidekick, Hans Solo.
Lesson learned. Gene kept working through his 40s and now owns the whole set--Jar Jar Binks included!
And now, because it's Christmas season, here's something completely annoying ...