Bottle: (n) a container with a narrow neck, used for storing drinks or other liquids.
I suppose you can try to change that. Good luck.
Actually, the best you can do–so as not to become a personal ATM for your offspring–is to instruct them on various methods they can use to earn small sums of cash.
When my seven-year-old son came to me complaining that he didn’t have funds to buy a toy, I suggested that he go out and collect bottles. This was a time when such an adventure was plausible, and paid off with two cents per container.
He became extraordinarily industrious. In no time at all, he had collected 268 bottles. He was so proud.
So I drove him down to the local grocery store, which had promised to pay the deposit, and let him go in with a cart, completely packed to the brim.
He was gone a long time. I almost decided to go in and check up on him, but felt he might consider that interfering.
He finally returned to the car with a little money in his hand and tears in his eyes. He didn’t say a word. So I finally asked him why he was so upset.
He shared that the store manager told him that today they would only give one penny for each bottle. He didn’t want to argue with a grown-up, so he accepted his half payment.
We just sat there for a moment in silence. Finally I asked him, “So what do you feel about that?”
The tears avalanched down his cheeks.
“I think it stinks,” he said.
I explained to him that since he felt that way, he should probably go in and make a stand. He nervously agreed.
Being a proud father, I couldn’t miss this. I made sure he didn’t see me sneak in behind him, but I was bound and determined to catch the discussion.
My little fellow was very respectful, but he challenged the manager and said that he had worked very hard to collect the bottles because he had been promised two cents.
Amazingly, the manager decided to stonewall. But as my boy made his case, a few customers came around, listening in on the exchange. One of them took my son’s side, and before you knew it, there were four or five people frowning at the store manager.
He realized he was going to lose more business than the $2.68 he was withholding. So he reached into the drawer, handed the money to my son and told him to be about his business.
I quickly scurried to the car to be there before he arrived. When he opened the door, he had a big, beaming smile.
He learned to stand up for himself–even though there was the risk that nothing would change. The truth of the matter is, if you’re being cheated by a penny on your bottles, you’d better pipe up.
Because bottling up your feelings can leave some nasty deposits.
Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!
PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant