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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Importance of Jelly Beans

The night of his birthday, #5 came upstairs to head to bed. I could tell by his face that something wasn't right, so I pulled him into my room. We sat on the bed and talked. It didn't take long to get to the heart of the matter...."I didn't get the jelly beans."


I was clearly missing something. "What jelly beans?"

"Well, last year, everybody else got jelly beans for their birthdays. I never got mine."

HaHa! Oh, okay.


Here's the deal with that....Last year, meaning 2011, many of the kids requested a big container of jelly beans from Costco. For those children that asked for them, I took the money required to make the purchase from their birthday budget, bought them, and gifted them to them.

Not everyone received them, but those who had put them on their list did. I guess to #5 it looked like everyone but him. I shared this with him and that I would have happily bought them had they been on his list.

I tried to explain to #5 that the budget was spent. There was no more money for his birthday, but if he wanted to wait, there would be money accumulating each month, and I'd be happy to go out and spend that money early to give him the jelly beans. That didn't make him happy. He wanted them now. He felt he had waited long enough.

image: 02varvara.wordpress.com
I need to interject here that I was totally clueless that this child ever wanted jelly beans. I was feeling like a total loser to have missed that boat. Of course, I want to be able to give my children everything they want, what mother doesn't? But, I'm also not foolish enough to give my children the false impression that there's always money for everything, and you can have whatever you want whenever you want it.

I shared with him that the money tree I had attempted to grow had failed but assured him that there are other options. Here's what he was presented:

  • Bag the idea of getting jelly beans altogether.
  • Wait and receive the jelly beans for your next birthday.
  • Get the jelly beans for Christmas next year.
  • Buy jelly beans after that much money has accumulated in the birthday budget again.
  • Earn your own money to buy the jelly beans (I gave ideas of how I would assist him if he chose this).

image: everythingforyourchild.wordpress.com
He mulled these over and then came up with his own idea....Every year, he receives Christmas money from his grandparents. "I could spend my Christmas money!" Awesome idea! I reminded him that this money was being saved to be able to buy some fun things at Disneyland. "Do you want to be able to do that, or would you rather cut it by this much to have the jelly beans now and less at Disneyland?" I was totally great with this option, but I could foresee some very sad times in the Magic Kingdom for one young man.

We both mulled it over, and then I presented this final idea. "You could hold onto the money, spend as much as you want to at Disneyland, and then make sure, if the jelly beans are still that high of a priority,  that you save the money needed for them until you get home."

This was it! He was suddenly very excited. This choice would allow him to make a conscious decision and exert some self control.

Yesterday we went to Costco to purchase a few things. We found the jelly beans and made sure of the price, so he knows how much to save.

Lately, the Marshmallow Test has been on my mind. You know, the one in which little kids were put in a room with a marshmallow placed in front of them and the promise that if they can wait to eat it, there will be another one brought in. I wanted to find a video for that just now to illustrate it, but ran across this report instead.

After having seen that, I could only hope that this waiting will lead to such rewards in #5's life.

1 comment:

Dave said...

This is a lesson that each child has to learn. I hope that I am teaching my children these principles correctly and that they understand why I'm teaching them what I teach them. I'm so going to do that marshmallow test on my kids and see what they do. I think I know what each one of them will do. We'll see... :)

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