Thursday, June 12, 2008

Checking 101

Elizabeth, being a working girl, needed a place to deposit her first check. Here in Texas (and maybe in CA, I don't really know) kids are allowed to open checking accounts early and have debit cards. Elizabeth wanted to be one of those kids. And I got tired of her constantly asking for mine.

So, we set up an account for her. And everything arrived today.

First up, inspect the checks. Which were wrong. Darn it. Not the way I wanted our lesson to start off. The checks will have to be returned because I do not want to be known as Kristine. And yes, my name is on the checks... because my child is still a minor. Believe me, that did not thrill Elizabeth.

But when she saw the checks and check register, she got very excited. You'd think someone had just deposited a million dollars into the account. Sadly, no one had. But it didn't matter, she was very ready to go to the store and write some checks. It didn't matter that there was no money in the account yet.

And then it was time for the check register lesson.

My pupil was wide eyed and ready to learn. Or she would have been if she hadn't been so excited about check #501. She was completely distracted by the idea that her checks were starting with #501.

She studied the checks and the register and suddenly asked, "How does this work?"

Thinking that she was curious about the whole checks and balance process, I tried to explain how a whole new world had opened up to her. How she was now a responsible adult. Too bad I was wrong. What she really wanted to know was how the checks fit into the little checkbook cover. Did they slide in this way or that way?

Eventually we began our check register lesson and I tried to explain the details but I could clearly see that the words 'withdrawal' and 'deposit' were throwing her. So was that little line that said.... NOTE __________ . She looked at the check, then the carbon underneath, then back at the check and actually asked, "Would it be okay if I made notes on the carbon?"

Well, yes. Except that's what that little line is for. Right next to the word "NOTE." And honest, it will transfer over to the carbon. Really.

Again I tried to teach "check register 101" but that little piece of plastic that slides under the carbon threw her. She didn't believe that it would actually prevent the fourth and fifth check down from receiving marks from the first check. I guess she'll learn that in time. I hope.

When we tried to resume the lesson, Elizabeth began to tune me out. All because I had said, "Let's go online and learn about 'online banking'." Liz threw a fit. She thought I just wanted to go play Freecell and that was all she needed to hear to bolt from the room.

I tried to explain that online banking and rectifying was necessary to keeping an accurate account of what was in her account, but she would have no part of it. None. She knew that I was only into playing games right about now. I was, but I didn't tell her that.

We tried only one more time to learn how to use the register but it was darn near hopeless. Elizabeth got mad when I told her to subtract the check she'd write from the total in her balance. She didn't like the idea of her money going away. I guess she thinks the balance is a fixed entity. Oh, if only it were.

The lesson ended much sooner that I had hoped. My patience ended even sooner than that. And Liz is now on her own.

And her paycheck is still sitting upstairs. I doubt it will ever make it into the bank. It was just so much more fun getting the checks... and pretending she was an adult. But those adult responsibilities? She wants no part of them.

And off she was to Sonic, with her friends. And my money.

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