At the entrance to almost every Walmart is a circle contraption that collects money for the Children’s Miracle Network and the Arnold Palmer Hospital here in Florida.
You’ve seen these collections contraptions. You put a coin in a certain place and when you let go it swirls and swirls. Quickly it plinks down a slide looking thing and lands in with the rest of the money that has been donated. Kids and adults will pause to watch this short event that often urges kids to yell “again, again” and parents to dig for more change.
Sometime over the last year, the boys asked if they could put money in the swirly thing. After saying no numerous times, I realized I always seem to have coins with me so I said yes. When the money plinks to the bottom, they ask for more and I say no. They would use all my change every trip if I let them.
I admit that more than once I used this as bribery since it is the last thing we do before going home. I have taken it away a few times but if they are good and I want to keep them occupied in one spot for more than a minute, I give them two coins to swirl. The kids think this is one of the coolest things they get to do when we go shopping.
We have tried to teach our kids to find the joy in the simple things in life. I have no idea if it is working but they seem to enjoy putting money in the swirly thing.
When they realize the money goes to help other kids, maybe they will learn that helping someone else can be fun.
The value of either lesson will come later in life so until then, I will make sure I have a few coins when we go to Walmart so they can put money in the swirly thing.