In the corner of our local pizza place they have a candy machine.  It’s the kind that has a crane arm that you can control and it goes down and grabs a few pieces of candy and drops them in the hole.  For 25 cents your kids gets to move the crane around and eat a tootsie roll and a piece of laffy taffy.   Hardly a bargain, but never the less most parents fork over the quarter after a few pleads.

A few weeks ago a little girl asked her dad if she could get some candy.  His response is the reason for this post.  He said “No, we can’t aff…  We don’t spend our money on that.”

Ha! I love it.

He started to say “We can’t afford it.” but stopped himself.  He stopped himself because it’s simply not true.  He could afford to spend a quarter if he really wanted to.  I mean, if they had diamond rings in the machine, I’m sure he could put together $.25.  “We don’t spend our money on that” is a better response for several reasons.  For one, it’s more accurate.  It also teaches the daughter a little something in the process.  It shows her that her parents make conscious choices with their money.  They don’t blindly spend until their last dollar is spent.

The “We can’t afford it” answer comes from a place of weakness. It leaves a “poor me” taste in your mouth.  Especially when you are a little kid.  His daughter watched several other kids slide their quarters into the machine and get a nickel’s worth of candy.  They could afford it, but she can’t. She might wonder what else other people can afford that she can’t.   She certainly doesn’t know that it’s just a quick answer to a complicated situation.

The “We don’t spend our money that” answer comes from a place of strength.  It simply comes down to choices.  We choose this, they choose that.  It doesn’t make you feel like a victim.  It lets you feel like a regular member of society.  Just like everyone else.

pic by: yomi995

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