Crunching the Numbers is No Easy Task

photo credit: MJ/TR on Flickr Images

This post is about saving for retirement.

Not really.  I just used that first line to scare away anyone under 18 who might have accidentally chanced upon this page.  So, if you’re still with me, keep reading.  I’m going to let you in on a very well-kept secret.

The 401K is WAY better than the 403B, and I can prove it.

No, that isn’t the secret.  I just needed to buy some time.  Don’t want those young ‘uns to accidentally skim and see the secret.

Hm, hmm, Hm.  Don’t mind me.  Just taking up a little more space.  Tell ya what.  If you’re actually reading this,  you might want to skip the next paragraph.  Just another space filler.

So, as I was saying to the financial advisor about my lack of retirement savings, “Don’t worry.  Dimples is going to grow up and support me in my old age.  She promised.  That’s why I’m investing all of our savings in signing her up for beauty pageants.  Some day she’s gonna be a star.”

O.K.  You still with me?  I know this seems like a completely random post, but it actually has a purpose.  Just had to weed out all of the prying eyes before I revealed it.

So, here it is.  The Big Secret.  1, 2, 3.

No, I’m not counting.  That’s the secret.  Now, if you are an experienced parent or teacher, you may already be one of the select few who share this secret.  I know I’m not the only one.  I saw the masterful use of this powerful weapon the other day at the mall.

This guy had one of his kids by the hand, and was trying to get the other one out of the mall playground.  After calling JohnnyRebel’s name to no avail three times, the man finally resorted to the secret.  “O-o-o-ne, Two-o-o-o, Thre-e-e-e -“. I have never seen a kid run so fast to his father’s side.  Trust me, he was there way before that last “e”.

Now, lest you miss the beauty of this particular strategy, allow me to point out that there was never, at any time, in any way, shape, or form, a consequence mentioned.  In fact, this man must have considerable finesse, because he never even mentioned a Target Number – like ten.  Just started counting.

There are variations, of course.  Tell them what the max number is, or even count backwards.  Trust me, it works.  At least up until the age of 11.  Being an elementary school teacher, I have not experimented past that.  But, I am telling you people, in my twenty years of teaching, this technique has not once failed.  Whenever a child or group of children does not seem to share the same sense of urgency as you about completing a required task, just start counting.

So, there you have it.  The secret weapon.  Please use it wisely.  Don’t do anything foolish like laugh and say, “Look at you run!  I didn’t even have to say what would happen if I made it to three!”

Cause we will hunt you down.  Those of us who use this weapon frugally and with the utmost subtlety will find you and make sure you never count again.

That dad knew.  After JohnnyRebel raced out of the playground, the dad’s triumphant eyes met mine.  We gave each other a slight nod.    The secret had been used wisely.

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Posted on October 11, 2011, in Children, Family, Humor, Parenting, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Yes! I know and love that secret! It works beautifully on Lance. Lainey… we are still workng on, but man I love it!

  2. I tried that on our dog, he was a Pomeranian, he ignored me completely, just like he always did.

  3. I miss those days. If I started counting now, my girls would crack up! But great post. I need the one on retirement, haha!

  4. Tis true…the old 1-2-3 never failed.
    I used to be able to control my children and later my grandchildren with an angry stare…not a word spoken..it does not work anymore..maybe I have mellowed in my old age…

    Yes, let’s hear about retirement

    • My other trick is to start talking in a quieter voice. One of my students a few years ago caught on to that harbinger of a temper about to be lost, and would warn everyone, “Lookout! She’s about to blow!”

  5. It’s true! My kids get to 5. But, they also know the consequence is usually a seat in the time-out chair which is an abomination. 🙂 I’m not sure why. But, it is.

  6. 1-2-3 didn’t work for Lotus and their spreadsheets. Then again, they weren’t kids.

  7. Bongo can’t count so it doesn’t work for him and my son is studying calculus now – so I think I need to switch from 1-2-3 to a differential equation.

  8. LOVE it! I am constantly counting with my two boys. And it’s true, you don’t even need to mention a consequence or what number you’ll count to, the sound of 1….2….scares them so much they drop what they’re doing and run…..

  9. I have never gotten past two. Judging by the look in my daughters’ eyes, they think there will be bloodshed at three.

  10. My one two three only lasted until 8 and 9. Then I had them take a sign language class. There were no more excuses for not hearing me across the aisle at church or the play ground. Haha

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