Last Sunday was the super bowl, and I took the girls to a party at my cousins house so they could play with all their little cousins. Naturally, there was some low stakes gambling, and I wagered five bucks.
Emmy observed the transaction with grave concern, and pulled me aside to question the wisdom of my actions.
"Daddy, why you give him our money?"
" How we gonna buy food?"
"Daddy. No money to go skating? We can't skate again?"
"Daddy, what about college? Need money for college?"
Well, the good news is, Emmy seems to be paying attention to my frugal lessons.
So we enjoy the party, etc. and fast forward to the car ride home. I asked the girls if they had a good time.
Marin - an enthusiastic YES!!! When can we do it again??
Emmy - "Daddy, did that boy give you our money back?"
Here is where I should have lied and told her yes, but I thought it would be good to teach her that gambling usually involves losing money and you really should never do it. Big mistake.
Emmy came right unglued, sobbing and thrashing and wailing with pitiable grief. "Daddy. I can't believe it. Now we have no money to buy food. We're gonna be too hungry. Mama's gonna be so sad." and on and on and on. Emmy is so dramatic, she made me feel terribly guilty and almost had me crying.
As I watched this whole episode unfold, it occurred to me I should have taped this as a public service message for gamblers anonymous. It was way more effective than anything else I have seen on the topic.