I read this post at Robin's blog, Ramblings with a Cantankerous Old Mule the other day (great blog, check it out), and it reminded me of this story from many years ago:
My older sister, Regina, and I were quite spirited little girls. Before our little sister was born, it was just the two of us together all the time, either playing or fighting. I remember car rides when she and I would sit in the back seat and drive my mother nuts. But our mom soon discovered a trick that may have saved her sanity. It was called...The Quiet Game.
You may have guessed, the object of the game was to see who could remain silent the longest. It just goes to show, you put the word "game" at the end of anything, and children will buy it. But here's the kicker and what puzzles me to this day. My sister and I took this game very seriously. We were very competitive. And though we didn't enjoy being quiet, we would do it with the focus and concentration of an Olympic athlete, for that prize that my mother dangled in front of us. And that prize was...a penny. ONE PENNY!!!
I'm not that old, people! It's not like..."Back in my day a penny could buy a tank of gas and a soda pop and you'd still get change back." Back in my day, a penny could buy you NOTHING! But this actually worked for my mom until we were probably 9 and 7 years old (or older). We weren't a wealthy bunch. We never earned a weekly allowance as children or teenagers. But I am still scratching my head about that penny thing. Loosen the purse strings, mom!
Maybe that's why I was so ecstatic when I got my first job at the age of 15, earning minimum wage at Taco John's. That was five hundred and fifteen pennies an hour, folks! I was rolling in the green...I mean copper. I suppose perhaps that is one way our parents taught us the value of a dollar. I mean penny.
Me, Mom, older sister Regina, younger sister Erica