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I’ve spoken much about mentoring since Butterfly’s inception in 2009 and how important it is to have someone who strongly influences you (for the better) in work and in life.  We are all mentors, in a sense, as we continue to be role models for our children, displaying hard work, drive and dedication.


As a mother, I hope to teach my children the value of a dollar and the value of a life well lived.  And, I admit I wonder if I have in fact done my job since my son just uttered the words, “Can you take me to Verizon so that I can upgrade to an iPhone 4S?”  Like a dagger to the heart... I thought for a moment that I had failed. 
Days passed, the weather turned, and snow (7 inches of it) dropped in the Northeast.  My children enjoyed a record-breaking October 30th and I enjoyed something more than a school day could ever offer.  My son, (yes, the same child who so badly desired that I cart his rear-end to the Verizon store) picked up a shovel and went door to door on a quest to EARN his own money!  He and two friends bundled from head to toe and went to work shoveling driveways in the neighborhood. And, after a challenging days work for three kids that barely weigh 200 pounds combined, they collectively earned $190 dollars!!!! 
Finally, proof that somewhere along the way I must have succeeded.  He was so incredibly proud of what he had accomplished and I was proud of what he had taken away from the experience: 
*I am not an ATM machine!
*You must work hard for what you want!
*The realization that I will NEVER buy an 11 yr. old an iPhone! (I don’t even own one!!)
Happy Mentoring,
Co-Founder, Mother and Work/Life Advocate
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Comment by Ugochi Nwanze on November 10, 2011 at 3:48am

Hi Brandi! I must say i'm learning a lot from you even though my kids are still pre-schoolers. Still, there are loads of insightful things i've picked up, which i hope i would manage to instill in my kids.

That said, you are doing a good job with your son. We can only but try, insist on what is the right thing to do & be positive that all things would turn out fine (with a prayer in your heart!). You've told your son that if he wants somthing, he should go out & make it happen for him. And he's done just that! Now, the issue is how to marry what you've said with the all important need for him to understand that it's not just about buying anything cos you can afford it but also being responsible with money.

I guess you should have a talk with him. Let him know that you r proud of his 'go-get it attitude' but he should really make you understand his personal reasons for wanting the iPhone. Like, what are the benefits of the iPhone to him and how does it make a difference. Cos here, you are trying to make him see that it's not just about following the crowd just to be socially acceptable but being able to stand out & defend his values in the crazy consumerism syndrome that has engulfed the world! (which i must confess i fall victim to :)


I hope this helps. All the best with whatever decision you take.

Comment by Rosemary Nickel on November 9, 2011 at 10:22pm

I get your frustration and it's hard.  However, when you think back to the things we wanted when we were kids and our parents thought we were crazy.  You look back now and it's nothing. It's the times. It sounds like he doesn't abuse the phone he already has, there are parental controls in place and sounds like a responsible kid.  So what is the big difference between him having a used Blackberry or a iPhone? 

I agree with most that yes, he earned the money and should be able to buy the iPhone.  It's no different than an iPod or iPad and many kids have them (and he already has a phone)!  Someone mentioned in of one of the earlier comments about the Moon Jar. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I came to post. 


Both our kids know if they want something you have to earn the money for it.  However, when they earn money we sit down with them and help them disburse their money like this.  30% to their Wealth account, 20% Education, 20% Fun Money, 20% Savings, and 10% Charity.  So if they want something like an iPhone then they can only use their Fun Money to buy it.  Thus working harder for it.  We made an agreement that they get to spend their fun money on what ever they want.  What this does is let's them learn how to spend their money and they learn real quick what to spend their money on and what NOT to spend their money on.   

At some point you can take the 30% Wealth money and teach them about CDs, Stocks, or whatever you are comfortable with.  The wealth money is NEVER spent.  It's their wealth...where money makes money.


We provide for their needs, they provide for their wants. 


BTW....YOU are going to love the iPhone 4S and will want one!  OMG!  My husband has one, I didn't think it would be a big deal but it is!  The personal assistant tool ROCKS!   


Good luck on your decision...these are the difficult moments of motherhood but either way lessons are learned by both parties.  Warm Hugs to you Mamma!





Comment by Bradi Nathan on November 9, 2011 at 8:17pm

Hi all! It's me... mom with the quandary.  I want to first say THANK YOU for all of your insightful feedback and let you know that NO decision has been made.  Next, I want to make it clear that the Blackberry my son currently owns belonged to me before it was time for me to upgrade to a new Blackberry.  I do, however, pay the monthly fees (it was a graduation present into Middle School/6th grade) and now have the security that when he is at sports or even on his way home from school, that he can reach me at anytime.  He does have access to the internet via his phone but he only uses it to check sports scores at this time.  I have had numerous conversations with him about what is and is not appropriate phone etiquette and I have taken the phone away as punishment for past poor behavior -that had nothing to do with the misuse of phone.  We have spoken at length and Jack has agreed that he will need to save more money to cover the insurance on the iPhone that he so desperately yearns for.  Jack is aware that both his father and I think it is simply an unnecessary purchase- We are hoping that he will arrive at the same realization as he continues to build his bank.  Love to continue to hear more as I respect what you all have to say immensely!  

Comment by Dina J Nathan on November 9, 2011 at 5:55pm

Hey out there!!

Somehow I posted under Bradi's name......

See my comments below



Comment by Bradi Nathan on November 9, 2011 at 5:36pm

Sorry Bradi but I say no...................

Why not take your teaching moment to the next level??  Get Jack a Moon Jar @ and teach him that with every dollar you spend it is wise to consider both saving a portion for a "rainy day" and saving yet another portion to give away to a cause or person that is need of it more than you. 

If there is any leson that we should teach our children it is that money will not always be there for the taking.  You say that you are not an "ATM machine" to the kids.  Well hold them to saving a portion of their earnings in a savings acount so they can become their OWN ATM machine.  Although our children have weathered these ecomnomic times fairly well that is NOT the norm.  Once Jack has determined what kind of financial lifestyle he wants to lead, he will be able to pinpoint how much money it is going to take for him to earn on a regular basis.  By saving a % of his earnings he will learn that no matter what is going on economically in the world that he will be able to continue that lifestyle without having to give up too much because he had SAVED the money!! 

Next I'm not sure anyone can argure that it is not important to give back to your community.  Even if you set up for Jack to save 1% on every dollar earned the lesson is still there.  Have him pick something that he feels strongly about, like sports equipment for kids who can't afford it, so when he does put that 1% in his moon jar he is feeling good about it!

Last talk to your husband and come up with a PLAN.  There are laws in our society for a reason.  You have to be16 to drive, 18 to vote, and 21 to drink.  Come up with an age where you both feel Jack will have the emotional maturity to make a decision about spending a large sum of money on his own.  Until then, like the president, you have the right to VETO!!  He is still living under your roof.

Anyway, something tells me that if  he comes to you with an item that he REALLY wants, within reason, that you would probably let him use his money to buy it?!  Considering the fact that he allready has a Blackberry I'm not even sure what an iPhone can do for him differently besides raise his status??  For real!  I'm not trying to be fresh, I just don't see what else an 11 yr old would need that his Blackberry doesn't already have? Let me know if I just don't get it??!!

In the end I think this will achive your goal of teaching the value of the dollar while allowing him to live a life that has been well-earned AND well-learned.

Comment by Lori Ketkar on November 9, 2011 at 5:32pm

Hi Brandi,

Very simply, what is the purpose of having an iPhone (sorry I missed the last post)?  As a former teacher, cell phones are distracting in the classroom and can be distracting to an 11YO boy/girl. This is your decision at this point and if you feel 11YO is too young then so be it.  As Sandra points out, you have opened the door and it is now your next action item to close that door.

If a phone is what you or he require to keep safe, then fine, get a phone.  The instant access to add apps and search the internet are way too much for a boy @ 15 let alone 11 years of age. 

As a family - what is your family's mission/vision for each individual?  If your family has decided that being industrious (working hard) is a prime daily mission, then the iPhone is an extreme distraction.  If the iPhone is to be used during off times, a book, a computer, a board game or cards would suffice.

FLIP SIDE -- HONOR HIS WORK ETHIC with something!  Extra time on the computer (or iPad if you have one) OR a trip to the store for him to purchase something else (wii game perhaps).  BUT once you have made your decision, stick to your decision (no matter what) because in high school too many kids told me (their teacher), "my parents let me do anything I want to do!"

Comment by Joanne Burch on November 9, 2011 at 4:15pm

I agree with those who say you are still the parent.  Do you have a reason other than money to refuse this?  Can he continue to earn money to pay the monthly bills?  There is a value in Ipods - ie. they help the Autistic children communicate.

I let my son buy the then popular video games - but I still controlled how long and Which games he could purchase and play.

You are still the Mom.


Comment by Geralyn C. Adler on November 9, 2011 at 3:41pm

Hi Bradi,

Wow, your son has the beginnings of great work ethics (a lot of kids don't understand this concept - most kids nowadays unfortunately have the "entitlement" attitude.)  So yes, you have done your job in instilling in him, hard work and earning the value of the dollar...but don't squelch that now.  You've given your word that you would allow him to have the iPhone 4S after he earns enough money to buy it...follow through on your word.  Don't back down now or you'll be setting the example that "whatever-mom-says-is-not-true" and that will jeopardize the trust between you and your son.  That's the LAST example you'd want to set for your son.


I realize that giving him an iPhone 4S is a bit overwhelming, but you've already given him a Blackberry and for all intents and purposes, they are both Smartphones and they are both similar in many ways.  If you are concerned about his activities on the iPhone 4S, you have control over the account (Verizon is what is stated on your post so I assume you are with Verizon.)  Under the Family Share Plan, you can control and monitor his account on their website (the blocking of certain numbers, limiting the amount of texting, the over use of your account's Data plan, etc.)  You can rest assured that you hold some of the reins on this.  Giving him this phone will teach him more responsibility, but be sure to lay down some concrete rules for the use of this phone...and follow through with it.  Besides, this phone may be your ally. After all, you can use it as a bargaining tool for discipline (i.e. "if you don't clean up your room now, no iPhone 4S for 1 week," etc.)


I've gone through all that with my daughter and it's been working fine so far.  However, I must warn you...if you think the smartphone is a nuisance, wait till he asks you if he can have a FACEBOOK account!  =)

Comment by Jennifer Sorokach on November 9, 2011 at 12:43pm

Well, I have to say.  A smartphone, is a smartphone.  If he already has a Blackberry, then he already has a smartphone, which is what an iPhone is.  However, the nice thing about the iPhone is that it is an iPod as well. So it is one device, instead of having two.  The camera is nice as well.  If he is responsible to have a phone already and uses it correctly and does not abuse it then, why not let him get. By letting him pay for it with his own money will make him appreciate it more and value it.  

Comment by Julie Potischman on November 9, 2011 at 12:08pm

hi bradi, i hear everything you are saying and agree with it all.  i agree that it is not necessary for an 11 year old to have an iphone, however, for you and i, the old folks who are not nearly as computer and technologically savvy as our children, it is a treat and luxury to have one, but for him, it is his norm. it is a different generation then what we are used to. for crying out loud 4 year olds know more about ipads than i do.  so if you have already agreed he can have a phone, then the iphone may make more sense than a blackberry for this computer savvy generation. so i would share with him how you feel about this splurge, but let him know how proud you are of him for working so hard to get what he wants, and if he chooses to spend his money this way, let him go out and buy it. letting him do it, may work to your advantage because he may quickly learn that his hard earned money wasn't as well spent as he hoped because new iphones are coming out everyday, quickly making his new phone, already out of style.  to me the more important thing you can do as a parent is if you decide to let him get the iphone, is to teach him boundaries in regards to using it. set rules about texting, emailing and palying games that show him although you respect this fast paced, computer generation and his desire to be a part of it, you are still in charge.  parenting is so hard so remember whatever decision you make in the end it's the right one for you. and if you happen to make the wrong choice, you can always change your mind and make the necessary corrections/changes as needed.  good luck!   as a side note, i'm impressed you didn't already buy him one your self!!!!!

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