Recently I have been given a car (for my Son – I am just holding it for him until he can decide what he wants to do with it.) Being the fatherly type that I am, I wanted to help my son make a good choice in what to do with this gift given to him by his grandmother.
You see, my Mother is getting up there in years, and has recently decided that driving isn’t something she wants to continue doing. Also she has decided (and in my opinion, it was a very good choice) to move in with my Sister. It’s not that I haven’t offered to have her live with me and my wife, no, we have offered many times. I think she just feels more comfortable living with her daughter than with her daughter-in-law… and that’s perfectly fine. We have my wife’s mother living with us as well, so I’m quite used to the situation…
Anyhow, She wanted to do something nice for my Son who is in the army right now, about 3000 miles from where I live. The issue is which is the better thing to do, Sell the car and send the money to him so that he could use it as a down payment on a newer/used car? Or hold it for him until he gets leave, he flys out here and then drives it some 3000+ miles to his next assignment? I’m really leaning twoards selling the car. But, it isn’t my choice. My Son is his own man, and I respect that. Hopefully he will see that driving it all that way isn’t such a great idea, and would actually cost him more than the whole deal is worth. Or even having it shipped could cost more than the car is worth. It’s coming up on Kelly’s Blue Book as being worth around $2300.00 (depending on condition and so forth). So, what is the value, the worth of him getting this ‘gift’?
You can take a look at that on many levels… First, The overarching value is the feeling of love and being special because grandma gave him a car. Secondly there is the monetary value. And the value of having to make a hard choice. Let’s stop and focus on that. I love my son, and he wants to be responsible and make his own choices and informed decisions. The value of this gift really comes down to the lessons learned regarding how he deals with the gift. And I’m not saying he’ll learn something by sending a thank you letter or thank you call to his grandmother, I’m talking about him learning to weigh all the options, choose a course and deal with the consequences (Positive or Negative). This could wind up costing him more fiscally than the gift is worth monetarily. And no matter which way his choice leads him, this will be an experience that will season him. And the experience and memories created hold the most value of all.
This is a gift that is more than what it seems, and I hope my son sees it for that.
I’ll post a follow up when things start to coalesce.