We had about a 45 minute discussion after dinner tonight because of a lecture that Glenn had in behavioral this morning. I am not sure how much of it I am going to capture here but I wanted to keep a record of it.
To start off Glenn got out our white board and drew 4 pairs of shoes and labeled them with prices. A was $250, B was $500, C was $100 and D was $60. Glenn had the kids vote based on which shoes they thought he would probably buy for dress shoes for next year. Caleb and Hannah voted for B, Lydia voted for D and Abigail voted for A. We asked them why Caleb and Hannah both thought that the most expensive would be the best quality. Lydia voted for D because it was the least money. Glenn was about to explain why he would probably buy the $250 shoes when we remembered to ask Abigail why she voted for A which is what Glenn and I both voted for. She said, "because they are the smallest." We all cracked up. Glenn went on to explain that he wouldn't buy the $500 shoes most likely because they are, most likely, not twice as good as the $250 ones and would most likely not last twice as long. He also explained that he is going to need good dress shoes starting this summer because he is going to be on his feet all the time. He would be able to buy two pairs of the $250 ones for the price of one pair of the $500 ones and they would probably be similar in quality. Also he clarified that he would never pay that much money for other types of shoes that were only worn occasionally or more prone to wearing out.
We discussed quality versus price for a while then Glenn drew another picture. (While he was drawing we performed a living rendition of "The Emperor's New Clothes.") He drew two coats. One was $75 and the other was marked down from $150 to $80. He asked them which one they would buy. Hannah decided she would buy the $75 one because the $80 one must not be as good because they had to mark it down to get it to sell. Caleb went for the $75 one because of something that Glenn had said while drawing it about it being a great coat. Lydia went for the more expensive one this time "because mommy buys expensive stuff." I think that she felt ashamed about going for the cheapest last time. Not sure what Abigail's reason for picking the $80 one, maybe because it was the one labeled A and A won last time.
We went on to have a discussion about how it is worth it to spend extra to get good quality for stuff that matters to you and that you use a lot because then you don't have to replace it so often. That is why we have good quality pots and pans... because we use them all the time and don't want to have to keep running out to replace them every couple of years. What we have should last the rest of our lives. That is why we need to find good shoes for Glenn for I was going to say next year, then it changed to the next couple of years, then it changed to the next 5 years or so, then it changed to.... for the rest of our lives because he is going to need to be on his feet a lot and having good quality shoes will make a huge difference in his life. (recommendations would be welcome)
I think that this discussion came from the fact that Caleb has been stuck on the fact that we are "thrifty" and also from the lecturer this morning that was talking about how much how he lives/lived (had to un-train himself of some things) was impacted by how his parents and grandparents lived.
We want the kids to understand why we make the decisions that we make financially and we finally got down to the idea of stewardship. All we have is from God and is His, not ours. We need to make decisions wisely remembering that what we have isn't really ours. I know that we don't always do that right but I know that it is an area that we are all trying to grow in.
Caleb wanted the last word and he threw another quiz at the girls. "Would mom and dad rather buy $30 Crocs or $85 Keens." They all knew the answer to that one because they have seen from experience that crocs break pretty easy. They last maybe one season, if you are lucky. Our Keens have lasted us 3 solid seasons (they are the only shoes Glenn, Caleb and I have worn over the last 3 summers - the girls, unfortunately, outgrew theirs). We bought Caleb a new pair for this summer on sale for $22 from Sierra Trading Post only because his feet grew and he can't fit in his old ones. I am sure that his sisters will get use out of them though. In shoes, especially everyday shoes, comfort and quality are worth the investment.
Anyway, it was a fun conversation. We got to explain to the kids more of the why of what we do. We don't want them "cutting off the end of the ham for an unknown reason only to find out later it was because several generations back the mom had an oven that was too small." We want them to understand and to wrestle out what they think about things with us. I'm thankful for the chance we had to do a little of that tonight.