Turning Trouble Into Teaching Moments

Whew! It’s been a heck of a week.

About seven days ago, my wife and I were looking at our finances.  So far, throughout this recession, we haven’t been doing too bad.  I’ve been working enough hours at the two colleges that I work at (in fact, I added another one to insure job security — ah, the life of a part-timer!).  But for the most part, we’ve been making end’s meet for the past four years.  Or at least it seemed that way.

Like a lot of people, we have dipped into our home equity line of credit to make car repairs or to pay for a visit to the doctor.  So, basically when my wife and I were taking a good hard look at our finances, we knew that it was time to buck-up and spend our money wisely — because all it would take is one expensive emergency situation to drain away our savings.

So, of course, it was just a few days later that we discovered that a hot water pipe is busted — and that the damage and repair will be into the thousands.  It’s too early to tell how much it will be, and we aren’t yet sure how much home-owners insurance will cover us.

But I’m not saying all of this merely to vent — theraputic as it might be.  We’ll weather this little storm, and tighten up our proverbial belts.  I’ll give up my weekly visits to Chipotle for a while, sigh… — uh oh, I’m venting again!

No, aside from venting, I’m writing about how this little financial hiccup has become a useful teaching tool for the girls.

First of all, it was my older daughter who discovered the problem in the first place.  She noticed that the closet was more humid than the rest of the house, and after investigating further, she discovered that the back part of the closet was wet.  So, we certainly have praised her observational skills.  Thanks to her, we caught this leak pretty quickly.  We told her that she saved us from mold.  And then of course, she wanted to learn all about mold and fungus.

So, after we made calls to the proper repair people, we pulled down some books from the shelf and started to learn about fungi.  Then, my older daughter scanned the internet, and we were happy to discover that mold in such plumbing diasters takes at least 72 hours to form — whew!

When the plumber and contractors arrived, the girls watched as they investigated the problem, and listened as the workmen talked about the solution.  They even got to look through this cool heat-sensivite tool that detects where the hot water is leaking from behind the walls.  And then of course, when the workers cut out part of the wall, so they could fix the leak, the girls were thrilled to see the hidden chambers (that’s what they called them) that lruk behind the wall.

And now, the girls are probably going to spend the rest of the evening looking through these “how-to” plumbing books.  So, whenever there’s a mishap or a patch of economic trouble, I try to keep in good spirits, and thinking of it as a learning experience — for me and the girls!