Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Irish Knew... Did You?

I looked around our bedroom today and I saw several of Charlie's penny jars and it made me curious enough to look into them. I even cleaned those that were minted before the 80s. It brought back all sorts of memories, but mainly it made me smile and feel good inside. Before you read on, ponder this question:

"When you see a penny on the ground, do you ignore it or pick it up?"

(See a penny pick it up)

In the part of Laguna, Philippines where I lived, back when I was around 10, a schoolmate told me that I should never ignore any coin I come across because it is money. When you come across money, even a sentamos (1 cent), your luck is bound to change for the better.

(All day long you'll have good luck)

I was also instructed that "found" money should never mix with "earned" money because you would most likely want to spend it all, then you'd be out of luck. It is better to stash away your "found" money.

Since then, I delighted at every coin I saw and promptly picked it up. It felt great to have a little bit more than what I started with and from experience, I found myself grateful for having that extra coin to pay for the treat in the vending machine because it required exact change. Or the odd tax amount at the end of a cash transaction or the noise each one made, fooling me into thinking that I was saving so much money.

Fast forward to living in the US... I never forgot that saying. When I started to go to school here, I was flabbergasted (does anyone still use this word?) that teens and adults alike all around me, ignored the pennies they dropped or laughed at anyone who tried to return their pennies, including me. I wasn't hurt of how they reacted, I was confused as to their lack of interest for lost coins, starting with the often ignored penny.

(Pass it on to a friend)

Well, between Charlie's love of them and my likening a found penny to having opportunity to do or having done a good deed, our home is blessed with many of them. Just like anything, it starts with one; sure you need hundreds of pennies to make a real difference, but how can you gain hundreds without acknowledging the first penny counted?

With this belief in mind, I taught my children to respect money, starting with the lowly penny because to me, how can I cement the concept of respecting the value of money when I don't start with the smallest denomination? Retail giants like Target and Wal-Mart bank on enticing consumers with odd numbered prices to show just how affordable it can be to shop there. In our minds, it's easy to calculate 10 items priced at $2.67 is cheaper than 10 items priced at $2.68 or 2.69 because we see how quickly it all adds up and yet, when we see a lonely, no doubt dirty penny on the ground, we often dismiss it with an accompanying disgust. It's perplexing to me, because this seemingly indifferent attitude is from a country that turns junk to art, promises a greener world, and coined the phrase, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

I've also taught my children that respect is earned by all things provided by the heavens, including the miracles produced by the hands of inspired men and women. Currency and coins, definitely earned that right. "They make the world go round." So when I see my children's excited squeals at finding a penny or sharing a found penny with a friend, or counting their collected pennies at New Year's Eve coin toss to figure out their tithing for the New Year, I get that warm fuzzy feeling that they just learned a little bit more about what respect means...

(Then your luck will never end.")

The Irish created a saying to commemorate its value; they knew... did you?

Heavenly Father, thank you for making a penny...

Charlie, Lisa, Jasmine and Ian; thank you for picking them up.


4 comments:

Lara said...

You'll be horrified...my husband throws pennies away. I have been training him to put them in my jar for 10 years now and he's finally getting it!

The Ever Lucid Lisa said...

I keep several piggy banks in my room. I have a silver pig that holds quarters, a bunny that holds nickels, and a teeny pink pig that says "Penny, the Lucky Piggy". It holds dimes...
I keep my pennies in an old tea tin with a built-in clock on the front.

CC said...

Lara; (gasp!) I'm glad he's coming around. :D

Lisa: I know about Penny who only holds dimes, lol!

CC said...

From Lori Thompson: (Facebook)

"...BTW, love your blog!"