Child Labour or Just A Lesson In Value

child learns the value of money
Daniel's second hand bike from Mellow Velo

Have you seen this kid riding his bike through the neighbourhood? Capestang has a new boy in town, one with a goal and a determination measured to none.

Daniel received a second-hand bike from us when we first landed in Capestang. With the fabulous weather ahead, we had a line on good used bikes from the rental company Mellow-Velo, and we purchased three for our family at a reasonable price.

Alfonz tuned them up, purchased Daniel a good bell and helmut and now our son makes the best of it by riding his bike as far as Poilhes along the Canal du Midi.

Shortly after we purchased his bike he wanted a new bike. Some older kids in Capestang ride their BMX bikes down the half-pipe over in the skate rink, and once he saw them that was it-it was love at first sight. He wanted one. He would scoot or ride his bike over and watch from the sidelines, as the cool Capestangese kids show off their moves. Wow!

We had a choice.

Either we go out and buy the boy the bike of his dreams, or we take this opportunity to teach Daniel the valuable lesson of money. How hard work pays off and putting your money together to save for something will give him a sense that things are not free, or received simply from desire. A lesson in value. A lesson in money. A lesson in determination.

Setting Daniel a goal he can work towards was the idea, and during the process he would understand the fundamentals of business. Granted it was a stretch. Although I remember my first lemonade stand at his age and how long it took me to make enough to get to the store to buy myself a candy bar.

We asked him what he could do to work for the money. He said; clean his room, take out the garbage and the sweep the floors after dinner. I said no because those were his everyday chores to help out our family and were mandatory, not optional and I definitely wasn’t going to start to pay him for it. We put money away for their education, so in some ways they do get paid for their chores.

What could he offer the community to make some money to save for his bike. Huh?

Daniel’s favourite stop

We came up with a plan. He would go to the bakery on the mornings of no school, weekends, Wednesdays and during the holidays and we would pay him a premium for the bread. He pays 80 cents for it, we give him 1 Euro.

From that idea, he started asking our close friends if they needed deliveries, would they too want to wake up to a fresh croissant or baguette in the mornings?

Once that took flight he extended his list to include noix bread, pain du chocolate and noisettes. Everything is rounded up to the nearest Euro to keep it super simple for his calculations. He keeps a running tally and list to keep track of standing orders.

The deal goes like this, he saves his profits, and when he reaches 100 Euros we will match it and take him to Decathlon to buy him his first BMX bike.

We figure it will take him until summer’s end. Often I ask him in the evenings to run up to Lidl to grab me an item for dinner, or to Intermarche for some fresh milk. He eagerly  jumps on that bike without complaint. I give him the change, or an extra Euro here and there to make the lesson stick. He likes the little extras, and I can see him in the evenings taking out the wallet we bought him as an investment into his business and he counts his change over and again.

A few set backs were, he accidentally forgot to charge us for a few weeks, and he used his profits to buy our bread. Once he figured that out, he asked us kindly for the missing money. Of course I gave him extra, apologizing for our error- no harm no foul.

He was also taking change from our change jar to buy other people’s bread, and then they would pay him too. So until we caught on to that, he was making a very good profit off his parents. It was innocent enough, grabbing the extra when he bought our items; the idea didn’t quite click and of course after we discussed it with him. Alfonz and I privately laughed our heads off, thinking no wonder he was making so much money.

His desire to save began to grow. His desire to expand the business was too. We have included Daniel into the rental apartment business of ours too and offer a list of items to our tenants that Daniel can deliver to them in the mornings or evenings. The tenants have been very generous, and often after a week of deliveries they tip him for his services. Nicely done my boy!

Daniel’s Business

If anyone is interested in helping our lovely Daniel reach his goal faster, please feel free to contact us through our website or call us if you live in Capestang.

I hope he reaches his goal in the nick of time too, as his bike keeps losing its chain.

His current savings is over 24 Euros! That’s a lot of deliveries since January! Good job Daniel, Mommy and Daddy are over the moon proud of you!


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  1. Children feel an entitlement for things, like it is the parents job to go out and get what ever their heart desires. I am determined to stop the cycle. Kids do not need endless amount of things, they need time with us. But if they truly want something, then we can make a plan to find a way for them to earn it. Glad to know MaDonna that we are not the only ones doing this for our children.

  2. That is a great comment Kim! Not sure how I missed it. He got his BMX shortly after you posted. I will tell him you are proud of him too. Daniel has had a tough year- no kidding with a new language, a new country and making friends. But he has come out the other side strong and resilient. He rides his bike all over our village, and makes us all proud. His confidence astonishes me. This year has proved to be a great change for him.

  3. This is great! My son had to save for his iTouch – and he did it. He saved birthday money, and has chores that he gets paid for each week. I think the value of his iTouch is greater to him now then if we had just bought him one…which honestly, wasn’t gonna happen. HA!

  4. Parenting the good ol way! I’m not even joking when I say: Thank you for adding to, not detracting from society lol!!! He couldnt prob care less about me (a total stranger from the States) but still tell him I am SO proud of him too and to keep up the great work. The feeling of accomplishment when he has his maiden voyage on that BMX will be like no other. I will be following & waiting for word on his confirmation of that fact;-)

  5. When my father was giving us chores, or a job at our family run bakery teaching us how to fry doughnuts – cake decorating, we did not appreciate it in the slightest. I watched my friends go off on gymnastic tournaments or overnight trips without me, as I had a job, a paper route, babysitting and chores.

    Looking back now at 38, I understand what he was doing- keeping us under his wing teaching us about work, money and what it was to be counted on.

    A little responsibility early, and we will add to the kids schedule as they grow, in hopes to instil values.
    Only time will tell,

  6. Hi there

    So great to read that you are raising a little boy who is not one of the “entitlement generation”.All of mine had to do chores and serve the community in some way or another. It has served them well. They are independent thinkers who do not take things for granted and do not buckle at the very first pebble in their way.

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