I have been invited to write a monthly column for a Brazilian magazine's website called Pais e Filhos. Here is the link for my first column (below in English) and translated on the site...
COOKIES FOR SALE
My daughter Georgia recently squirted through an entire bottle of shampoo while bathing, simply enjoying the lathering bubbles without a care. Waste was the last thing on her mind. When I noticed, I became rather cross and explained that we do not waste in our home. I asked her how we were going to wash our hair tomorrow night. To which she replied, "We can buy more tomorrow at the supermarket." And when I asked her who would pay for it, she replied. "We can use the money in your wallet." "But what if I don't have any money?" I asked. "We can use your credit card!" She proudly proclaimed. "But where do we get money, Georgia?" I asked. To which she replied we "pick it up" in an airplane.
PIck it up? If it were only that simple. And that is when I decided it would be great for my three year old to understand the merits of work and compensation. Perhaps it would help her understand more why her Daddy arrives home at her bedtime Monday through Friday. And why, at times, I cannot spend the entire afternoon in the playroom. Does she realize how lucky she is that her parent's hard work provides her with so many wonderful things? I want her to understand the satisfaction of purchasing something with her own hard earned cash. She will enjoy her toys more. (maybe?) Waste less? (I hope.)
My girlfriend Tati thought it would be a good lesson for her three children as well. So during our shared holiday vacation, we decided to have the kids operate a cookie stand on the beach. They participated in the baking, sign making, and selling. We told them they could each pick a toy with the proceeds from their sales. To which all three screamed loudly their desires. Georgia and Mathias wanted play dough. Lorena wanted a doll. Little Thereza wanted candy and ice cream. The sale was a success. At dinner we talked about the experiences of working and earning. We told them that instead of buying toys and candy, we could buy more ingredients and make more cookies, earning more money for bigger toys or even saving for the future. They thought about it a little. "Nah!" They screamed in unison, the money burning a hole in their little pockets.
Happy little consumers. Hard little workers. Tomorrow we are going to the toy store with their earnings. We're learning.