Dave Ramsey often quotes the proverb: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Last Wednesday while in the post office, my son asked if he could borrow some money until today (when I pay him for his chores). For the past five days, I have been trying to make this proverb as real as possible to my teenager son. In fact, after we were done at the post office and got back into the car, Dave Ramsey quoted it on the radio as soon as we turned on the car!
I warned my son: Mom is worse than any loan shark could think of being. Mom will charge an interest rate that would make payday loan places cringe. Son will be Mom’s wage slave for a period of five days, unless Mom feels she didn’t get her money’s worth in which case that period of slavedom will be extended. (Is slavedom even a real word? Eh, who cares…he didn’t ask!)
To my son’s credit, he has put up with all my demands in good humor. To my credit, I haven’t made him scrub the bathroom with an old toothbrush. The dishes have been done, the kitchen floor is clean, and the aluminum cans have been stomped as soon as I mention it. So how did I accomplish this with a teenage son who tries every delaying tactic known to man and boy when it comes to chores?
I threatened to get up before he goes to school, take him to school in the cute OLD purple pickup, while dressed in my purple robe and slippers…and make him wear a Roman-style slave placard around his neck that says “I borrowed money from Mom so I am now her work slave.” Yes, I am actually enjoying this LOL
Hopefully my son is NOT enjoying this! I want my child to learn on the gut-level that borrowing is bad, so he should only borrow in extreme cases when there is just no other option available. I don’t want my son to make the same money mistakes I did when I first became an adult and got into debt. I don’t want him to live crisis-by-crisis and hand-to-mouth. I want him to be confident and competent with money. I also want him to know, down on the cellular level, that work equals money and money equals work.
So far my son has kept up his end of the bargain, and not complained about the chores. I’m not sure if he is developing a sense of pride about it, or if I just didn’t make the chores unpleasant enough. Perhaps I should have made him clean the baseboards around the kitchen with a scrubby sponge…but then again he has asked to go to his school’s lock-in on Friday night, so I can always tell him that chore will be a way for him to earn extra money! “Overtime” work equals extra money. The sooner he learns these things, the better off he will be once he becomes an adult man.