Today’s story is about my friend Phil, a fifty-dollar dad. He shared this story with me, and said I could share it with you. It’s about his 8 year old son, Jack.
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Jack is an enterprising young lad. The youngest of four boys. He’s smart, driven, and thrifty. Industrious too.
Lately, Jack has been especially busy. Working extra chores. Rationing snack money. Selling old baseball cards. Saving whenever he can. Jack is on a mission.
$50. That would be a dream to most 8 year olds, but not to this little man. Jack scrimps while his brothers spend. Jack works while his brothers watch TV. Jack saves while his brothers squander.
$4. $9. $17. $29. $44. $49. Finally he’s there. Fifty bucks in hand. Now Jack has a plan.
Jack’s dad, Phil, works two jobs. Home Depot during the week. Cleaning pools on Saturday. Mom stays home taking care of “the quad.” Four rowdy boys, each a year apart.
It’s Sunday afternoon… Phil’s “chill time.” He lounges on the couch. Watches sports on TV. Eats too much. Relishes time to himself.
Son Jack has been waiting all week. He figures the timing is right, marching confidently into the room, “Dad, I know it’s your chill time, but can I ask you something?”
Phil slowly props himself up on the couch, “What’s up, buddy?” he asks, noticing a wad of cash in his son’s hand.
“Well Dad, I heard you on the phone. You said you charge $25 an hour to clean pools, right?”
“That’s right son.”
“Well Dad, can I pay you for two hours of time so we can go to the batting cage? Just you and me?”
I confess. I am Phil. This happened to me. Third grade words from my son. About broke my heart.
Priorities. A game on TV? A beer at the bar? Email and such.
Where was my head? Where was my heart?
I got my butt off that couch. My view of the world, my family, even my friends, changed big time that day. I’m in no position to preach. I’ll only suggest this:
Dads… are your kids saving up?
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I wrote this story for my SavvyDad.com website. That’s where I share stories about kids and their parents, along with the lessons we learn from each other.
“$50 Dad” is one of my favorite stories because the principle applies beyond parenting. Are you a $50 husband? Wife? Friend? Boss? Co-worker?
A few years ago my friend, Bruce, shared a one sentence tidbit of wisdom with me. I think it pretty much sums up the takeaway in “$50 Dad.”
“When the call never came, I knew it was you.”
I think about this often, hoping my kids, family, and friends never feel that way about me.
Time is precious. But we all have time. It’s simply how we use it.
If we don’t set our priorities, someone else will. Bad priorities is how we become $50 friends, husbands, wives… and Dads.
“Live as if tomorrow is your last and you will never regret the yesterdays passed.”
– Brian Hague (my oldest son)