The Life of a Daddy, or, a Lesson Learned in Small Tragedy

“How was your day (kid 3)?”


“Oh no, what happened?”

“Someone stole my profits.”

Kid 3 has become quite the little entrepreneur. It started last year when he discovered that his classmates would buy his origami throwing stars, and then his origami shields, and then his paper airplanes.

For one reason or another, he moved on from selling his origami creations and changed his business to reselling Tic-tac’s, buying a box and selling them 3 for a dollar. He even sold the empty box.

He’d made a tidy little profit, $4, which he put in his desk “for safekeeping,” but when he got back from recess, it was gone.

One of the hardest things about being a daddy is allowing small tragedies to play out. $4 is nothing to me, and I ached to simply give him the money to put the smile back on his face.

But I’m not that kind of daddy.

Kid 3 made a mistake. He trusted (1) the honesty and goodness of his classmates and (2) the regulatory oversight of the government (the teacher’s control of the class). It was now up to ol’ Daddy to spin this negative into a positive.

“Well (kid 3) what did you really lose?”


“Really? But what if you hadn’t sold those Tic-tac’s? What would you have lost, then?”

“12 Tic-tac’s.”

“Right, and what did you learn?”

“Not to leave my money where someone could find it, because it’s too easy to steal.”

“Are you ever going to leave your money somewhere people can easily steal it?”


We then extended this a lesson in keeping your possessions safe; the smaller and more valuable, the more public it is, the easier it is to steal.

He got an important lesson in business, and life, and all it cost was 12 Tic-tac’s.

And daddy’s broken heart.