First Lessons

June 14, 2016

This week I get the chance to go visit my 8 year old daughter’s year 4 (3rd grade) class and talk to the kids about money…about the importance of learning how to accurately add and subtract 3 or 4 digit numbers, so they can count their pocket money, ensure they are given correct change when buying something, etc.

To make it interesting for them, I plan to bring in a little sample of some foreign currency that we’ve collected on various trips and tell them a little about some jobs I’ve had in the past where I had to count money or make change. I’ve worked as a cashier, and in a few accounting jobs where I had to handle money, make bank deposits, count funds in a safe. 008

As I was thinking a little about what to say to the kids, I thought back on some of my earliest experiences with money and some of the things I was taught as a kid…

When I was 5 and first learned to count to 100, I had to count for my Grandpa Edstrom, and then as a reward, he gave me 2 rolls of pennies (or 100 pennies). This was a tradition of his, and through it he taught his grandchildren some very valuable lessons: the importance of education and hard work, the value of money, and the satisfaction that comes from earning something for a job well-done.

A few other things I learned from my Grandpa Edstrom at a young age (either from him personally, or from my Mom):

  1. The importance of good penmanship (which does come in very handy, if you’re working in accounting or any field that requires accuracy.)
  2. The importance of keeping money tidy and organized – with all the bills facing the same way. (Bank tellers will love you for this when you make deposits.)

Out of interest, here is a little from the family history about my Grandpa Edstrom’s very first job (c. 1915) – in his own words:

I was just past fourteen when I went to work for the Hillman’s Department Store. Well, I was a cash boy, and, of course, I was all dressed up in my Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes, you know, bow tie and everything, and a little bitty individual, didn’t weigh over about 65 pounds, but all the salesladies would just—well, they just took a liking to me and practically wanted to adopt me.  But they helped me along very much and the man that got me the job there was a floorwalker by the name of Sloan.  And the way cash and that was handled in them days—they had these here—one place where there was a cashier that handled the money, and when the sale was made, why, the saleslady would holler, “Cash boy!,” and you were the one in that particular area, why, you would have to take the money and the parcel and run it up to the cashier and have it wrapped and bring it back.  And that’s what they called a cash boy. Well, I worked there at the store for about, oh, I imagine about a year, and the wages was two dollars and fifty cents a week, and I got so tired of seeing that fifty cents every time they handed me my paycheck—that fifty cents was still in there, I could feel it before I even opened it that I hadn’t got a raise, and I commenced to look around for something else.  And I found a job at another place—the Gibbs Engraving Company, as an office boy—an errand boy, as they called them then, for five dollars a week, and when I told them that I was leaving, why, they said, “Well, we were going to give you a raise,” but, being independent, I said, “Well, too late now, already got one.”

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