My youngest son comes in my room and ask for $3. Of course, I ask why he needs $3. It's not the amount, I mean I've got $3 change buried in the living room couch, it's just a rather odd amount and hey, I'm a mom... I can ask questions.
He proceeds to tell me a kid reminded him during lunchtime that he owed him $3.
"Why do you owe someone $3", I asked.
"Oh, I bought some gum from him..."
"Whoa, what", I stopped him midstream. I know my kid and knew there had to be more to this story. Seriously, $3 for a pack of gum. My kid goes on to weave a tale like Mark Twain complete with intermittent exclamations of "but Mommy" in response to my questions.
After a few minutes, it became crystal clear my kid took out a loan and the Candy Boss let him know it was time to pay up to the Middle School Mafia. Hubby and I are constantly having to quell our youngest son's sweet tooth. He is the "Not Me" in our home whenever the question arises of who ate the last slice of pie. "Not me." Who ate ten cookies? "Not me." Who ate all the popsicles? "Not me." We try to monitor his sweet tooth because it often ends with "Mommy, my stomach hurts".
His overindulgence in sweets is causing him to take advances on candy loans he can't repay. It's the start of a bad habit or perhaps an opportunity to teach him business savvy and credit management. Hmmmm... I see a wonderful learning opportunity here.
I gave him the $3 but I also took him to the store so he could buy some bulk candy. Showed him how his friend profited by marking up the price of the 50-cent pack of gum to $1 and the 25-cent candy to $1 resulting in more money in his pockets. I could see his little mind calculating how much candy he could buy with his weekly allowance. Just as I beamed with pride at the little multi-candy entrepreneur I was creating, my kid looked at me and said "Wow Mommy, I gotta tell "T" he should buy his candy from here."
Well that didn't work out as planned.