This past week, we started giving our five-year-old an allowance. It may seem a bit early for this, but we’re really doing it to start teaching her about saving money, and especially advancing her understanding of how money works, as she’s started asking questions about the value of a dollar, vs. a quarter, etc.
So, in exchange for three simple jobs a day (make her bed, set the table for dinner, clean up the toys in her room at the end of the day), she earns $5/week. And of that $5, she will deposit half of it in the savings account we will set up at the bank today. (We tried to set it up yesterday, but disappointingly discovered the bank closes at 4:00pm. Who in the hell closes business at four pm on a week day? Is this what “banker’s hours” means? Ridiculous!)
So, instead of actually getting to deposit her first half-allowance installment into her savings account, we just picked up some moula via the cash machine, and drove back home. I gave Ellie her first five dollar bill, which sparked a rambling conversation:
“Mommy, who’s this a picture of?”
“That’s Abraham Lincoln. He was president of our country a long, long time ago.”
From Landon, the three-year-old: “Did he die, Mommy?” (he is in the fascinated-with-death stage; typical of kids his age, right now)
“Yes, Honey. ”
“Why did he die?”
“Well, Landon. Someone actually shot him with a gun. That’s why Mommy tells you guns aren’t safe.” (I know, I know…it’s the people that use the guns that are sometimes unsafe. Believe, here in Montana, that message is broad cast near and far)
“Oh…that’s sad, Mommy. I wish he didn’t die.”
At this point, Ellie perks up and rejoins the conversation. “Maybe the person who shot him wanted to be president. Maybe that’s why he shot him.”
Hhhhmmm, I’d never heard that theory about John Wilkes Booth himself before…despite controversy about him potentially being a hired gun…but maybe she’s got a point there.
Our conversation went on to include a Poli-Sci 101 discussion of how the presidential election works, and whether or not there’s ever been “a girl president” before.
“No, Ellie there hasn’t. But we got really close this time around. There was a woman running for president this time who got really close to the end of the…contest.”
Ellie thinks this one over for a while.
“Could I do that some day?”
“You mean become president? Of course, Honey. Of course you could be president some day!”
“But I’d have to learn all sorts of important things to talk about, right Mom?”
“You mean during the presidential campaign? Yes, you would.”
So Ellie starts planning out what her stump speech would include.
“So, I could talk about drawing, and jump roping, and how to be good…”
“You mean, during your campaign speeches?”
“Sure, Honey. You could talk about those things.”
There is a long pause.
“I’d have to learn harder things, wouldn’t I Mom?”
Without wanting to dash her hopes or self esteem, I answer gently, “yes, Honey. Eventually you would. But jump roping is good too.”