Guest Post: I Know You’re the Tooth Fairy!

Today’s guest post is from Marianne Miller. Marianne is a 2012 Hearts at Home Workshop Speaker. She is a Crown Financial Ministries counselor, a Certified Parenting Instructor, and a “She Speaks” graduate.

Marianne lives in Zionsville, Indiana with her husband of 23 years, Andy, and their three grateful sons and one son learning to be grateful. For more information on Marianne, visit her website, www.mariannemiller.com.

My youngest son Matthew burst into the house after a long day in first grade and announced, “Hey, I know you’re the Tooth Fairy!”  Assuming that “That Kid” had spilled the beans to all the naïve first graders, I asked, “Who told you that?”

He proceeded to explain to me that he figured out that I was the tooth fairy because some kids in his class got $5 when they lost a tooth and he only got $1.  I was busted.

I told Matthew that for him, $1 was enough.  Yet we do find ourselves parenting our children today in a culture that says bigger is better and having a lot of stuff makes you really  happy.  The culture says that thirty-two Webkinz certainly makes you much happier than two of them and $125 boots brings joy to your life like a $20 pair just can’t.

But that’s not what God says.  He says, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income…” Ecclesiastes 5: 10-12   

Don’t we want our kids to have enough? If we do, then God says that they can’t  “love the stuff.” If we want them to be grateful for every good and perfect gift, they can’t be looking to find their joy in their stuff.

One thing that makes this lesson difficult to teach is that as moms, we love to give our kids abundance–more than just enough.  Christmas morning is certainly exciting and a special birthday party can often be cherished for years, but a child will not even recognize these as abundance if they never have had a grasp of enough.

As you take a more critical look at the culture and the lies it pours out, how do you define “enough” for your family?  What limits do you put in place so that your child will recognize abundance?  How do you keep from feeling guilty because you opt out of activities or purchases that everyone else seems to be making?  Let’s generate some conversation on this topic today, so we can learn from each other!

Yes, Matthew, $1 is enough for a tooth.  And with the loss of 80 baby teeth in our home after the last 15 years, the tooth fairy has saved $320 that was used to feed the family rather than for super balls and some gum. And you, sweet boy, understand enough.        

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7 Responses to Guest Post: I Know You’re the Tooth Fairy!

  1. Julie N says:

    Oh my gosh, my husband and I just had this same discussion last night. We are overwhelmed by the technology rush towards our children. My 10 year old daughter is surrounded with friends who have their own Ipod touch, their own email account, they chat on facebook or facechat, they have an IPad or an IPhone of their own. And I am constantly frustrated by feeling like the odd ball parent with trying to set boundaries and limitations – BECAUSE SHE IS ONLY 10 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Korey says:

    I got to play the tooth fairy for the first time last night with my 5 year old!! She received $1 for her tooth. I asked her what she was going to do with her dollar to sort of test the waters on if she has been wired a saver or a spender. She said she was going to wait to get 2 more dollars and then buy 3 toys, one for her, and one for each of her younger sisters! I told her how thoughtful she was to want to buy her sisters something with her tooth money. I’m sure she’ll be in for a bit of an eye opener, though, when we actually go to the store and try to find 3 items for $1 a piece…

  3. Megan says:

    Marianne,
    Thank you for this article. I loved your presentations at the Hearts at Home conference. Very humorous and full of insight!

  4. Hi Marianne! Love this post. What we did with our girls is when they got into high school, they received a debit card. On the first of every month (or as soon as we remember) we give them a dollar amount which they must manage. They have to pay for gas, clothes, personal items, entertainment, school lunches, etc. If they want to do more, they have to supplement this money in some fashion.

    Initially, the bank was apprehensive to allow it. They were worried about overdrafts, etc. My response was I would rather have them do it now so I could teach them what they did wrong. My oldest soon learned that paying $100 for a pair of Buckle jeans meant she would have to forgo movies with friends. In fact, that month, she had to take a loan from her parents, which was deducted from next month’s dollar amount. It never happened again.

    On another note, I think parents play the biggest role in this on how they live. We live well below our means and demonstrate to our kids, through our own buying habits, that just because you have money doesn’t mean you need to spend it. We have discussed paying off our home this year and paying cash for cars (used if possible).

    Having them watch us and live fiscally responsible themselves will hopefully last a lifetime.

  5. Robin Schick says:

    Gee a $1 – at our house we only give .50 but they are half dollars and that makes it special because you don’t usually see people spending those. This leads to helping to teach savings. But yes we struggle so much with being frugal and not completely connected. I completely agree that 10 & 11 yr olds want too much technology. WE have tried with our oldest, that if there is something that they really, really, think that they NEED and as parents we don’t see it as a need, to encourage them to earn the money for that item. Be it an ipod touch or a brand new bike instead of a hand-me- down they need to learn to work for the things that they want.

  6. Robin Still says:

    Oh how this posting hit home…with 4 children and trying to teach them the importance of needing vs wanting. I can’t tell you thank you enough. The tooth fairy in this house gives you $1 for your first tooth and then after that it is .50 a tooth. We too use half dollars…the kids think they are neat. I am pretty sure that they know I am the toothfairy but they play along and give me my joy!

    In this crazy world…if they want or feel they “need” something…we ask them to save for it. If they purchase an item, with our approval, they tend to take better care of it.

    May you have a blessed evening! Thank you again for sharing. Be blessed because you are a blessing to someone!

    Smiles and Blessings Abound,
    Robin :)

  7. Bonnie says:

    Amazing how things have changed. I am a grandmother of 6 and mother of 2 girls, and the tooth fairy at our house only left .25. We gave our girls and allowance of $10 a week, which was a lot at the time. From that they had to tithe and pay for their lunches at school they could spend or save the rest. The youngest wanted a new bike so she did extra chores and saved her money and bought a new bike. She is 35 and still has that same bike and is proud to tell everyone that will listen that she paid for it all by herself. The oldest is no slouch either with 3 kids of her own, she will not pay full price for anything, she carries an envelope of coupons, and buys clothes out of season to save money. Yes I am proud of both of my daughters, they are great mothers, they both chose godly men to marry and are very watchful of their finances. Train up a child as they should go and when they are old they won’t depart from it.