My daughter gets an allowance of $2/week so that she will learn basic lessons about money and have a degree of autonomy. How much is she learning? Not much.
In my mind, the lesson an allowance should teach goes like this:
Child: ”Father, I really wish I could buy that telescope [insert preferred educational/aspirational toy here].”
Father: ”Why don’t you save your money?”
Child: ”Papa, you are right. I will save my money and earn that telescope.”
Then, 6 months later, the big day arrives. And the telescope is savored all the more for the hard work and patience it took to earn it…
Who knows, maybe I decide to be magnanimous and throw in a book about moons or something, just to show how proud I am of her. Maybe she even grows to love me more, having learned such a valuable lesson. And - I don’t know if this is pushing it - maybe she offers to do chores around the apartment for extra money and actually does a good job. Hey, it’s my fantasy sequence so let’s throw that in there too.
But as I’ve mentioned before, my daughter likes to take short-cuts. And she’s got terrible taste. So instead of saving up for some edifying prize, we have days like Monday, when she took 8 of her quarters and bought 8 little prizes from the bubble machines in front of the deli by her school. She got eight little crappy toys, including a handcuff necklace that is just perfect for a little miscreant-to-be.
She was happy as a clam. She likes crappy toys, and lots of them.
Maybe the actual lesson here is this: if you have terrible taste and prefer junk, the world is your rancid oyster.