Things We Learn From Children

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Here’s another one I wrote for “Parenting Points.” Here’s the link to the original. Hope you enjoy. Let me know in the comments.

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As I was pumping gas earlier this week, and taking note of the “summer surge” in gas prices, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter about a year ago. It made me smile.

On the morning of my sixteenth birthday, I made the teenage ritual journey to the Department of Motor Vehicles to test for my license to drive. On her birthday, my daughter didn’t. She didn’t want to take time off from school. It must be the generation gap.

When she finally took her driving exam, during Spring Break, she passed and decided to go for her first solo drive in her car. Of course, she went to the mall. This is where the story makes a parent proud—and makes me scratch my head.

The next morning, she got up early and got dressed. I asked where she was going so early and she said she was going to look for a job.

“Dad, gas costs money.”

Of course, I knew that. I’d spent 16 years driving her to daycare, and school, and cheer practice. I’d filled up once or twice.

As a parent, I was filled with a sense of pride combined with sadness. I was sad because a father wants to give his children everything they need and shower them with gifts. I was also proud of her because she had learned the value of money. That, in itself, is a valuable gift that evades many adults.

She has always been a budding entrepreneur. I came home one day and she was doing homework on an Apple laptop she bought online.

“Don’t worry. It’s not new. I sold a bunch of my old toys, and dolls, and that old bicycle in the garage.”

As a business owner, I was proud of her. She set her goal and she found a way to accomplish it. A couple of months later, I was asked to look after a neighbor’s house while they were out of town. As I prepared to ride to their house a couple of blocks away, I realized she meant she sold MY bicycle. To be honest, the fact that months passed before I noticed was embarrassing. It wasn’t “old.” It was two years old and had been ridden at least twice. “Bicycles come and bicycles go,” as grandma used to say (she never said that).

Both of my children have worked since they were old enough to drive. My son just graduated high school and saved his own money to go to the beach with friends and has already started planning to look for places to work when he leaves to go to school at my alma mater—The University of Alabama. The only thing that says about me is I am getting older. I’m fine with that.

It makes me think how God must look at us at times. We are his children and He has given each of us a purpose. He could easily shower us with gifts and blessings of abundance but, sometimes, He just gives us ability and lets us work for what we need. He knows our flaws and He knows our hearts. Hopefully, once in a while, we make Him smile.

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