We started getting some rain lately, coffee trees respond to it with healthy green color. We sprayed the first round of Botanic Guard, and finished the first round of  sucker-ling. Another year’s routine works as coffee farmer in Kona.


There are always many stories to raise a child. As the child is growing, parents are learning with the child, not only about their child, but also about themselves. Today I’d like to share our story about how Sonny gets the concept of money.

I only used cash when I was in China, credit card wasn’t common way to purchase goods. Now more people use credit card than before, but most small business still prefer cash.

We visited my family when Sonny was 4 years old. One day, he was playing with other kids, a man who was selling steam buns came to the village. All of the kids ran to the man, stopped him on the road to buy sweet buns. My family’s backyard face to the road, about 100 yards, rice paddy between the house and the road. I saw Sonny was the last one standing in front of that man, one hand out for sweet bun, other kids left. He didn’t know, other kids got sweet buns because they gave money to the man. I took my wallet, walked to them. That man gave a sweet bun to Sonny before I got there, I thanked the man and bought few more. Since that incident, I often wonder how can we teach him what is money, what is it for.

Here, we use credit card most time, he doesn’t have many opportunity handling cash. So we started a saving account for his future education fund, tried to introduce saving concept to him. He only can spend the money if he goes to college or university, otherwise we’ll take it back. He didn’t get the concept, since he doesn’t have a chance to spend the money.

Last coffee season, Terry said to me,” It seems not fair to Sonny, since he can’t spend any money without our permit. We should let him keep his own saving, the money he earns, he can spend as he wishes.” Later we talked to him, he was excited about it.

He earned his first $9.00 from picking coffee, right way he spent $3.50 for a Hagan Das bar at a convenient store. When he had $20.00, he spent $17.00 for a toy rifle which he already had one at home. Both times we didn’t stop him, later he found that he didn’t have enough money to buy Mine craft book which he wanted so bad. Since then he thinks a little bit before he spend his money. It also motivated him to pick coffee willingly to earn some money, and he tried to find different ways to earn and save money.

His class had a field trip to Hilo, he convinced us to give him $10.00, he took another $10.00 from his own saving. If he didn’t spend all the money, he got to keep the rest. On that trip, he spent less than $10.00, so he made a few dollars. On February, his class had a two days field trip to Oahu, he took his own $20.00 and we gave him $20.00. He came home with two souvenir, an army helmet and a water bottle, cost $18.00, put the rest money back into his pig bank.

This year he wanted a computer for his birthday, we told him that he had to put in some money, at least $100.00. We’ll double the amount he put in, the more he put in, the better computer he’ll get. Our friend Tom gave Sonny many chances to earned money from him, he paid Sonny to play piano, five dollars for five songs.

He spent his spring break and weekend morning working with us, most time he moved branches and piled branches by drive way. Every day we asked him how much his work worth, he gave us a number, we looked the pile, gave him our price. Most times he got $3.00, few times got $5.00. He couldn’t do very much, but we let him do it alone, with his own pace, praised him for trying his best. I remember how boring it was, when I was helping my parents at his age. I shared my thoughts with him. We don’t always have a fun job or a job we like, sometimes we have a boring job, but we still need to try our best if we hold the job. In that way, when we have a good job, a fun job, we’ll cherish the opportunity and definitely do our best.

On his birthday, we picked him up from school, went to town, bought a computer for him. He used up his saving, $18.00 in debt to us, promised to pay back. He worked with us on Saturday morning, cut down his debt to $15.00. He lost one tooth, and asked tooth fairy ( Terry ) for $5.00. Terry handed the money to him, he handed the money to me right away, announced he was only $10.00 in debt. He received some money for his birthday, he’s not only debt free, but also some money in his piggy bank.

I can tell he’s very happy because he has power over his own money. He treated us with Hagan Das bars at special occasion, Terry’s birthday, our anniversary, Mother’s Day. I praised him for his generosity.

I’m happy, as a team, Terry and I found a way to open this door to Sonny. Wish he will enjoy the process of making money, spending money in good way, be the master of money, not be mastered by money.