Our children receive a very small allowance for school. It is not for them to buy what they want, because the rate they’re getting means the money would only be enough to buy one McDonald’s happy meal at the end of one week. We wanted to expose them to money early, to encourage responsible saving and judicious purchases.
During one of our walks in a newly opened mall, we chanced upon an ice cream store. We were walking with our household help.
“Ice cream looks nice today,” I exclaimed, because it was hot and humid.
“Does anyone like ice cream?” my seven year-old asked.
“Who has money to treat everybody?” I asked.
“I have one hundred pesos!” he replied. A hundred pesos is equivalent to about USD 2.00 and change. It is also the equivalent of two weeks of his savings.
An ice cream cone cost a little under USD 1. Buying ice cream for three persons would cost nearly USD 3.00, an amount that was more than his allowance.
I saw his mind do the calculations. His money was not enough, but if he got one ice cream cone without the chocolate shell, the money would fit. He gave one chocolate cone to his father, another to our help. Then he kept the plain vanilla cone for himself.
I felt a tugging in my heart.
“Thank you for sharing,” I began. “Do you have anything left over?”
“No, dad,” he replied, “that’s all I have.”
“We’ve always talked about sharing as a virtue,” I started. “But there’s one thing I haven’t told you yet. It’s the secret of sharing — the more you give, the more you get back.”
I gave my son double his money back.
He looked on, stunned. “Is it true, daddy?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “Always share your blessings, and you will be blessed.”
We passed by a bookstore on the way home. It was the beginning of classes. There was a sign on the store that said you can purchase a notebook pack with a pencil and eraser to give to disadvantaged children. USD 0.50 per pack. He grabbed two packs, paid for it with his own money, and was smiling and walking with a spring in his step on the way home.