My little piggy banker
“No Pranav, you have too many now!”
Pranav’s face fell. I knew why. I was the one who had strongly objected to the purchase of the helicopter. Naturally, after having bought three of them this year, different models if I may mention, I finally decided, enough is enough. Handling Pranav was another challenge though. His friend apparently had four. I managed to convince him finally that he did not really need another one.
I grew up along with three siblings. Toys were simply handed down, broken or otherwise and there was never a time when any of us threw a tantrum for want of toys. Simply because- there were no listeners! Our parents expected all of us to play together and if a toy was broken, we simply lost the chance to play with it. That was the story in all my friends’ houses too, back then.
Which makes me think now. Do we as parents encourage children to change these rules? After all, if we buy them toys at the drop of a hat or sometimes out of guilt (working mothers often experience this), we really cannot blame the children for expecting more from us. If you ask me, it is more of a peer pressure for parents than for the child! We always want the best for the child, and the same reason worries us when we realize at times that we may have pampered our little one in this process.
I worry, that if it goes the same way, soon my child will not respect or value money! So recently I decided that I would try to inculcate the importance of ‘saving’ in my 8 year old. When I thought of ideas, there were just too many I realized, some of which I could have started doing long back! I got him a piggy bank first. He did not seem too excited about the idea, considering that till now his father had bought him whatever he wanted and he had never felt the need to save. I then explained to him- how he could put small amounts into the piggy bank and later buy for HIMSELF whatever he liked. The idea appealed to him then! In fact he really took it serious and started putting whatever amounts he received, into it. His birthday fetched him quite a bit. I expected that he would pester me and his father to immediately buy him some very expensive toy. But for a change, it all just went into his little piggy bank.
The toughest part in the process of teaching Pranav to save, was to actually to set an example. This was something my own mother pointed out to me. Children learn by observing and hence I had to watch my own spending, ensuring that unnecessary expenditure was cut down. I took him to the ATM, to the supermarket, to the bank, I even discussed investments with him. Our pact was that any money which I got in coins would go to him and his piggy bank. Apart from that, we also gave him a little bit of pocket money every week- any savings from this also went to the piggy bank savings. He questioned his father –“How is money made Daddy?”. The enthusiastic father explained how he toiled at work and how he minimized expenditure and how much he had to save for the future.
Pranav’s question was simple- “Why can we not simply print more money when we need it Daddy!”. How we wish!! The next hour was spent explaining to Pranav how money is circulated and the logic behind printing money.
The bank visit especially intrigued him when the Executive there asked him if he would like to open a Savings Account. I decided that this would be the next step after a Piggy bank. After taking the forms for Account opening, Pranav and I returned home. It was exactly one month since we had started the piggy bank savings and we had decided to open it at the end of a month. My little boy had been careful this entire month, not wasting unnecessarily, collecting coins and sometimes reminding me also about the importance of savings! I decided that this good behaviour warranted a small reward. After opening the piggy bank, Pranav eagerly counted his precious savings- Rs. 493 in all. That was quite a whopping amount in a period of one month. As a reward for his dedication, I matched half the amount and added it to his kitty.
“Buy what you like Pranav, these are your savings. However, spend wisely and try not to spend it all at one go.” I can only say, I thought.
Pranav went with his father to the shop the very same evening. I expected them to come back home with some new helicopter or car. Father and son came home silently. Pranav handed me a small parcel. I did not understand. “Open it Mom!”
It was a pen drive- for me. My son had not spent on some unnecessary expensive toy, he had actually bought me a very useful gift. I vaguely remembered mentioning to my husband a few weeks back about wanting a pen drive. He had got his father a wallet. And nothing for himself.
Parenting is full of surprises, the parents being surprised by the child most of the time! Today I am glad that along with learning about saving, my son had also learnt about the joy of giving. It was an emotional moment for me- not because of the gift, but the thought behind it. I took Pranav shopping the next day. I was almost prepared to even buy him the helicopter.
“Mom, how about that this book?”
I got him the book. Thankfully the helicopter phase was over. As a celebration we then went ahead and got what we enjoy best together- a big tub of ice cream! Cheers to a new month of savings!