Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable ~Clare Boothe Luce
Teaching life lessons to a child seem to be much harder than I could have ever imagined. Truly, when Kyle was a baby I used to think, lead by example and that should do it. Now, I have resorted to actually taking money from a kid to prove a point. One that I don’t think he’s getting.
About a month ago Kyle and I were in the store. Previously, he saw these movie and gaming posters that he really liked and wanted for his room. Great! “You have money, so buy yourself a poster.” Was my only response.
On a side note, I swear that soon to be thirteen year old kid always has more money than me.
I stood with him going through the posters, not appreciating the scantily dressed women in bikini’s with up close and person bottom shots, but we quickly got past those. He considered The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Minecraft and Halo. Which one he chose? I have no idea, I think it was The Hobbit but don’t quote me on that.
At the same time, dad asked me to get him some air fresheners for his car. While we were on location, it made sense to pick up a few fragrant smelling plastic clips too.
Now, for the story of my frustration. We get to the checkout and I’ll admit, I was testing Kyle, for I put everything together. I wanted to see if he would offer to pay for all the items, at the very least his poster. Let’s face it, the total was maybe nine bucks, with his poster being five.
What Kyle did next, totally blew me away. He stepped away from the register as the lady was ringing us up and never offered a penny! I thought he’d at least throw in five dollars to cover his purchase. Nope, he physically stepped back and gave me a look, expecting me to pick up the tab for everything. I was floored! Needless to say I paid.
All I said to Kyle was, “This is your poster you know.” followed by him saying, “Ya, but that other stuff isn’t and I’m not paying for it.” followed by me saying, “But the poster is yours and it doesn’t seem like your paying for that either.”
We left the check out before I tore into him. I was totally flabbergasted! He didn’t even offer to pay for his stupid poster, and not even care about the items for his pap? The man who gives him everything, treats him like gold, never asks for anything from this kid, except for maybe good behavior. The man who truly loves him with all his heart who takes him hunting and fishing, makes sure the kid is never without. The man who goes well out of his way for the happiness of this little boy. Ya, that man Kyle would not spend four dollars on, knowing that his pappy would compensate him tenfold for the gesture. Heck, I would have given him the money for just simply offering. And probably taken him to the movies or bought him another poster as a reward.
Nope, instead of being considerate and generous to those who love him the most, he chose the self-centered, greedy avenue. One that marked him for life, or at least until the next incident.
As we were walking out of the store, I exploded! None of us in my family are like that at all. My brother certainly was never greedy, in fact he was too nice and generous with money, letting others take from him and never paying him back. Granted, I don’t want Kyle to be that nice, but come on, this purchase was for him and his pappy. I wasn’t expecting him to buy a months worth of groceries. In fact, I wasn’t asking him to give up anything, it was the gesture or in his case, the lack of gesture that ticked me off as well as his attitude.
I don’t want Kyle to be greedy, not even close to greed. That’s why I’m always Warning Against Materialism – Encouraging Dreams I don’t want him associating with it. I certainly don’t want him to be THAT guy who expects everyone to pay for him and he won’t even step up to return the gesture or meet halfway. YIKES! I hate that type of guy or gal. (not playing favorites)
Then, to make matters worse, I too do for him all the time. I take him to the movies, to the store, to his piano lessons and I run around extra to accommodate him and his plans. Not that I’m keeping score, but come on buddy, at least appreciate what you have and try to give back!
Did I mention that the money in his wallet was probably given to him by my dad, his pappy? Frustrating!
Recently, Kyle called me about two hours before his piano lesson to inform me he didn’t want to go. Now, I get the reasoning, he had family that was in town and surprised him, and it wasn’t totally his fault. But he needs to learn that two hours beforehand to cancel on someone is not acceptable. Yet, he was still planning on going to his baseball game that night. Let me see, it was that important for him to cancel, and I still have to pay for the thirty minute lesson, but he can spend two hours at his game? Granted, again there was a lot of political pressure put on him that was out of his control, but he needs to learn appropriate behavior and stand up for whats right. So I said, “That’s your decision, but you’re paying me for the piano lesson.” His response? He cried. My response? I didn’t care. Maybe a little.
Did you know, that kid tried to get out of paying me for the missed lesson? Yes! Then, to make matters worse, Kyle misplaced his piano books, so therefore he was not practicing all week. He waited three hours before his lesson to ask me to look for his piano books at his Gigi and pappy’s house or my house. Missed again buddy.
Naturally, we couldn’t find them and he had to go to his lessons without any music. Before it was Kyle’s turn, I made him sit there and come up with a few good solutions to the problem. Telling him it wasn’t the teacher’s problem, but yours alone and one he needed to find a reasonable solution. I had to help him with suggestions like, “Ask your teacher if you can practice scales, or if he had other music you could play etc.” The teacher was very accommodating but I was beyond angry.
Now the lesson not only included wasting my money, but it was inappropriate protocol. Waiting till we leave for lessons to look for his book, when he should have been practicing all week, not acceptable! I was more than furious that he felt it was admissible to not practice simply because he didn’t know were his books were located. And somehow it became my responsibility and not his? Wrong again buddy! He needs to be held accountable for his actions. I told him he was paying for that lesson too and if he thinks I forgot about the previous one, he was wrong.
Now Kyle must have realized I meant business and I was not happy with his behavior, for the next time I picked him up, he handed me five dollars for the poster, still refusing to acknowledge payment for the piano lessons. I guess that was too steep for his budget, but I didn’t care. Again, I reminded him and again he ignored my warning.
So now we have missing piano books for another week. I told Kyle to call me on Monday giving a status update if he looked for them, he waited till Wednesday, the day before his lessons. Getting better buddy but not there yet. While we spoke on the phone, I was extremely calm, probably eerily calm for him. I told Kyle he has a few choices to make, either we stop by the music store and pick up the books, which he has to pay for, or I’m pulling him from piano all together and he has to pay for the rest of the lessons that I pre-paid, about two hundred dollars worth. I also asked for his suggestions, which he had none.
Kyle was stunned and completely speechless. He didn’t know what to say or do. Although, I will give him credit, he started to come up with temporary solutions like, “Aunt Heather, could you grab my old piano books, maybe I could play something in there.” Good effort, now you’re slowly getting it, but still missing the mark. Sadly, for Kyle it wasn’t about getting the most out of his lessons, or letting me down or not appreciating the opportunity I gave him with music, it was all about the money, his not mine. Now I was depressed, realizing the materialism and greedy nature of this little boy. How sad! Again, my family would never in a million years act like this, apparently he’s learning it elsewhere.
Long story short, Kyle got out of any decision when I found his books. And yes, he wanted to place the blame on his Gigi, because they fell into her box of photo albums that no one realized. Yet, the books where still his responsibility and he should of had us looking long before he did.
This past weekend, Kyle had his wallet on him, the nice chain and leather gift given by his pap. Would you believe the kid handed me forty bucks to cover the two piano lessons? I was stunned actually. No apologies, but he handed the money over to me saying, “Here Aunt Heather for the piano lessons.” I could tell, he thought I was going to give it back with maybe a speech on being responsible and accountable that sort of thing.
I didn’t waste my breath. I’ve said it all before. I simply took the paper currency and said “Thank you.” His eyes were sad for the loss of money. I also noticed he did this in front of his pappy, thinking his pappy would do what he normally does and replace the cash. Dad did no so such thing, knowing the situation. We’re on to you Kyle!
Now what Kyle doesn’t know, is I’m planning on adding the forty bucks to his education fund. He’s had that account since he was almost three months old, set up by my cousin Paula, who was Ryan’s godmother, Kyle’s dad.
I do believe Kyle is not a lost cause, he just needs more guidance. In fact, not even a year ago, someone handed Kyle five bucks for doing a good job serving mass. That was way too sweet. Without thought, Kyle immediately gave the money to father for the church. I was so very proud of him! It was something he wanted to do and I could tell he felt it was the right thing. I never steered him one way or the other. It actually happened so quickly, Kyle already had his mind made up before I knew about it. He is a generous kid! Sometimes.
I’m working with him, everyday! I just need to pray for patience.
Below is a video of Kyle playing the piano with his instructor at the Seton Hill Performing Arts Center. Normally he won’t let me video him, but this time he did. 10/21/13