When I was a kid, Oma and Opa always gave Justin and I a steady weekly allowance just for being wonderful 🙂 and well, grandchildren. It was a small amount, but when we visited them we could overturn the piggy bank onto the kitchen table and count the coins. We would roll them up, take them to the bank or local store and trade them in for something special. Other achievements such as karate belt-graduation, major birthdays and earning good grades in school also offered great earning potential.
We were encouraged to bring copies of our latest report card with us when we went home to Vancouver for the summer so that we could show Opa and Oma. They would examine it closely, ask us questions and praise us for our diligence with accolades and money! I shouldn’t, therefore, have been surprised by what happened at a recent family gathering here in the Netherlands.
My cousin’s nephews had recently finished their school year and brought with them to Oma’s birthday party their shiny school reports (which actually resembled sketchbooks more than official documents with marks). The reports were enclosed in a 3-ringed binder that had a plastic slip cover, conveniently perfect for holding coins and bills. As they passed the books to Oma and Opa to evaluate, Oma and Opa were ready with questions, ooh ahhs and money. This turned into a lucrative little gesture as each guest also wanted to see the books and were ready to gift the children for their efforts and adorable-ness. It got a little less adorable when they circled the group a second time asking nog meer? any more?
It’s a Dutch thing, I’m told. Other friends confirmed their grandparents also gave them money for report cards, anniversaries, New Years (Oud and Nieuw), birthdays, etc. If the Netherlands is full of over-achieving children, then the aging population should be broke.