News / Opinion
The standard price for any chore in our house is R5. I instituted this set price in the ’90s when my girls reached tea-making age.
It may sound crazy but reaching tea-making age is one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life. It is the first time in their lives that they are trusted to use a potentially life-threatening piece of machinery in the form of a kettle.
Like most, my children were exceptionally proud of this newly acquired skill. For about three days, all I had to do was look at the kettle and they would volunteer to brew me a cuppa.
Then it became a chore.
Three weeks later, I was faced with children who would rather cry for five minutes than spend five minutes making me tea. That’s when the R5-promise was instituted.
I would promise to pay them R5 if they made me tea. Because it worked, I used the R5-promise for a host of other tasks, like tidying their rooms, packing the dishwasher, even to stop crying.
I must admit, I never paid up.
I would, every now and then, give them R10 in lieu of all the R5-promises, but that was only a fraction of what I had promised. The R5-promise stuck. It has been with us through all their years at school and university.
We all know I’m never going to pay up, but I keep on promising and they keep on doing what I request. Nowadays, a R5-promise inevitably leads to a big debate on how much I actually owe them.
My youngest believes she could buy a house should I make good on all my R5-promises.
Later this year South Africa will hold municipal elections and, as always, it will be preceded by a lot of promises, mostly by the ruling party. These promises will include the usual: creating jobs, ending load-shedding, free education, etc.
Looking at past promises, the ANC owes us at least 12 million jobs, 20 000 schools, free services for life, 500 000km of tarred roads, at least three T-shirts each and a roast chicken every Sunday for the next decade.
Are they going to make good? I’ll give them R5 if they do.