It is one of those phone calls that melt my heart. My granddaughter, age 6, is asking me to take her to the store. She’s only initiated phone contact a few times so her planning this event for us to be together brings me joy. Actually, the sound of her voice is all I need to feel like the day is flooded with light.
As the plans develop, I learn that this child has saved up a total of $4.59 by “working.” Her mother wisely suggests that we go to a variety store where small items can be purchased for as little as 35 cents. The expectation is clearly one where this can be a first step in learning what things cost and how to prioritize so that your money stretches as far as possible.
This seems like the plan until we are on the road and she announces that she wants to go to Wal-Mart. She is not asking about Wal-Mart as an option. Her mind is made up. I concede.
“Do you have something special you want to buy there?” I ask.
“Yes,” came the confident reply.
She takes my hand in the parking lot and says, “Besta (Norwegian for Grandmother), could you get me a gift card for Wal-Mart for my birthday? Before I can answer she adds, “Actually, you could buy me something, wrap it up and then put the gift card in the birthday card.”
Why do I find this freedom delightful?
Once we are in the store I am being strongly led by this small child who has only one thing on her mind. She is determined to find the one item that she has already chosen.
After searching all the toy isles we ask an employee for help. I am ready to give up when the item is discovered. It is a little box with two diapers, one bottle containing milk and the other orange juice. “It’s all for my Teddy bear,” she explains.
Then came the sticker shock. The price was $4.69!
Now what do I do?
As the reality sinks in that this is not a job for a grandmother I am asked, “Besta, do you have a dime.”
“Yes, I do” as I rationalize that that my goal is to bring this little girl home happy. “Her parents can teach her to manage money!”
I do feebly explain that if she buys this she will have spent all her money on one thing but that comment bounces away before it hits her ears. She is too busy scanning her item to confirm the price.
We walk to the counter and stand in a long line. There are not many cashiers on duty. By the time our turn comes, the line behind us is even longer. My grandchild proudly empties her purse and the counter is covered with pennies and nickels with many toppling onto the floor. As I glance at the waiting line I see some sympathetic to my experience and others whose patience has grown thin.
I “help” by using some of her loose coins for payment, scooping most back into her purse and completing the payment with my $20 bill.
I bring home a happy grandchild and tell the parents this was not a lesson in financial management. With a sigh, the mother answers, “But that was the point.” Then she laughs at herself for even thinking such a thing.
As I review this story, I am thinking about my prayers. Do I maintain an awareness of His joy when He hears my voice? Can I trust Him with the desires of my heart knowing He will never give me anything inconsistent with His purposes? Does He love to give to the one He loves?