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As a parent you want to have all the answers. You bring a child into this world and, for some reason, they believe that you are the all knowing deity in their life. The last thing you want to do is disappoint them. But as parents we all know we aren’t perfect and often we are just doing our best. This is one of those situations, I hope you can relate. Here’s what happened:

Our Story Begins in a Magical Place

A few weeks back, we were in Best Buy (ok not really magical) and there was a display for a PS4 VR (virtual reality) demo. My son, who is very shy, wanted to know if he could try it out. He has been seeing these types of VR masks and really wanted to see what the hype was about.

He managed to get the nerve to go up to the worker and ask if he could try it. My son was kindly told “No, sorry” because they were already shutting down (dad’s fault for walking into Best Buy 10 minutes to close, my bad).

Then my son asked the clerk to my surprise, “How much does it cost?”

“Well,” the clerk replied, “The gaming system and the VR bundle would be about $1000 all together”

“Ok. Thank you.” my son said politely.

As we walked out of the store my son was quiet. I could tell he was thinking. Assuming there was a question coming up, I started to go through how I wasn’t about to spend $1000 for this system. I was trying my best to think of a way not to be the “bad guy” in this situation and say “No” when the question finally did come.

Then I Was Surprised

After a long pause, my son said something that almost made me cry.

“Dad?” he asked.

“Yes son?” I replied.

“Dad, How do I make money? How do I make a thousand dollars so I can buy that system?”

My heart swelled with an unbelievable pride. Here was my son trying to figure out how he could buy it himself.

He didn’t ask me for the money.

He didn’t hint around getting it for a gift.

Just “Dad, how do I make a thousand dollars”

Not: “Can I have a thousand dollars?”

Not: “Can you buy that for me?”

Just “Dad, how do I make a thousand dollars”

As a parent it’s one the prouder moments I have had in a long line of proud moments.

It’s a moment that will define him, because as time goes on his first thought will be “How can I afford it?”  and not “I can’t afford this.” That mindset shift is huge at any age.

Now Here’s Where Dad (a.k.a me) Falls From Grace

My first thought was “I have no clue.”

Making suggestions for other people to make more money is something I like to do. If you come to me and ask me how to make more money, I can usually give you some suggestions.

But a young kid, my own kid, I was speechless.

“Well,” I finally put some words together, still with a glint of pride in my eye. “You need to provide value to others that they want to pay you for.”


To make money you need to provide value to someone else that they are willing to pay you. Click to Tweet

We brainstormed ideas as we walked along. He came up with things like yard work for other or walking dogs. All the while I kept thinking was: “How do you get a child to earn money, when they don’t have many skills yet?”

For weeks this has been nagging at me. There are literally thousands of ways to make money but I didn’t know what to say to my kid.

My thought is to encourage this line of thinking and behaviour. He’s asked the right question, and he deserves the right answer.

For now I have set him up with my Swagbucks account. He can watch videos, play games and in doing so earn towards his goal. It’s a start and it will show him how doing things over time can add up.  As we come up with new ideas I plan on updating this post with how it goes.

What would you say if it was your child? Let me know in the comments below.

Now See More Clueless Parenting

Dad, What is Money?

Dad How do I do Money ?

What Would You Do if You Saw a Child Throw Away Money

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