One cold Saturday morning several years ago, my husband and I packed up our youngest three children, Benjamin, Sarah and Adam, and a very heavy bag of coins to our local TD Bank store to make the most important deposit of our lives.
I tried to instill our family values of hard work and saving in my children at a young age. Taking my four, seven, and ten-year-old children to the bank was a natural extension of this lesson. From the time my children were very small, they could earn fifty cents by doing small chores, like helping to sweep or dust. They had lemonade stands and occasionally sold a colorful, handmade beaded necklace to an indulgent grandparent. Sometimes, they got lucky and found a penny on the sidewalk or a couple of quarters between sofa cushions. No matter how they obtained their coins, they always put them in a large container we kept in the living room. To Benjamin, Sarah, and Adam the growing pile of coins was a treasure valuable beyond measure.
Several times, my children considered spending some of their hard-earned coins on a much-wanted toy or treat. Time and time again, they resisted the urge to spend their coins, choosing instead to watch their fortune grow and save it for something bigger and better.
Eventually we decided to keep their treasure safe by depositing the children’s hard-earned coins into a checking account. By putting their money in the bank, we would remove the easy temptation to spend it as well. The entire family agreed that I would keep track of the children’s bounty for them.
Right before we went to our local TD store, I got a little nervous because I wasn't sure how the teller would handle a deposit of so many coins. What if they were too busy to help us? What if they didn't understand the meaning of this transaction to us and just looked at it only as a number – a tiny deposit- that wasn't worth spending any time on?
Fortunately, I didn't need to worry at all. The teller immediately understood the importance of this transaction to her small customers and their parents. Her enthusiasm for our family's transaction meant the world to us. She made it a great day for our family, and one filled with lessons we will never forget.
A fun day of counting coins and telling jokes
The teller led my children, husband, and me to a big, white table in the well-lit lobby with a pile of cardboard sleeves we could use to sort coins. The five of us quickly got to work grouping pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. The work was slow but with each sleeve filled the children’s excitement grew. As we sorted, we practiced counting and told jokes.
The teller came to our table to check on our progress several times during the hour and a half we sat at the table sorting. She showed tremendous interest as the total grew from ten dollars to twenty and then thirty. The teller shared the children’s joy when their total reached fifty dollars and beyond. When we approached the teller’s desk as a group with our sleeves full of coins, my children could barely contain their excitement. While turning over the deposit receipt, the teller congratulated my children for being such good savers. Before we left, she gave them each a beach ball to take home.
The total amount of our deposit that day was a little over $60. It was almost certainly among the smaller deposits made that day. Yet, even years later, the kindness of the teller that helped my family turn an unorganized pile of coins into a meaningful event for my family still makes me smile. I saw the teller a few weeks later and she asked me how my children were doing. I thanked her again for treating their pennies with as much reverence as she would show a six-figure deposit.
Although we never made another deposit quite like that again, my children, now 7, 11 and 14, are interested in learning about how the stock market works and learning about how interest accumulates over time. I am certain that their early experience with TD Bank taking their small customers so seriously played a role in their emerging money-management skills.
The money my children deposited from their collection of coins still sits in a TD Bank account today. My children still ask me about from time to time. For now, they are content to let it stay in the TD account.
The most important lesson we as a family learned was that every penny saved counts- and it can add up into something substantial– just like that deposit of $60 worth of coins. And we also learned that day that TD Bank puts people first in everything they do. It's what it means to be Unexpectedly Human – they're always seeking ways to provide service that goes above and beyond.