It all started with a letter addressed to my son.
I never open a letter addressed to my children. I strongly believe that children have a right to privacy. I hated the fact that my mother and my oldest sister opened all the letters addressed to me. It was like I have no rights whatsoever. In fact, when I cleaned my mother’s room while I was in the 3rd year of medicine (I was legally an adult for all intent and purpose), I found a bunch of letters addressed to me under her mattress. Most of the letters were from friends and my mother hiding the letters from me costed me a good friendship. One of the letters was actually a request for help. A friend’s younger sister wanted to do journalism in Bangalore and he wanted to know if I would help her when she arrived in Bangalore as it was the first time she was ever leaving Bangalore. I should also mention, this is the friend who saved my ass countless times by sending all those telegrams to my medical college .. (you know the ones where he killed my paternal and maternal grandfathers over and over, so I could get leave of absence). Because I never saw the letters and never replied, he never ever talked to me, even after I wrote to him and explained what had happened.
Besides the issue to privacy, there is also the thing called respect. I am raising little adults and they deserve respect. So, I left the letter on my son’s desk, which kind of looks like a mine field. He was busy with exams and I was busy with work. I forgot to tell him about the letter and he didn’t tidy up his table.
Last week, he finally saw the letter. It was a letter of demand from the toll company!
He had used the toll road unknowingly and didn’t own a toll tag. Now there is fine which is increasing exponentially as each day goes by.
I tried to call the toll company and they wanted to talk to the owner of the car (my son) and he was heading to work at that exact moment. He said ” I will deal with it when I have time”
Well, if you have ever received a letter of demand, then you know that time is of the essence here. The toll company doesn’t wait for you to make time, they just charge you an insane amount of money every day you delay the payment, which I explained to my son.
“It is my money” my son said.
I was really really annoyed with him. Of course it is his money. He earned every bit of it by working and earning 11 $/hour. But why would he want to waste money like this? If you act on time, then you could avoid a catastrophe.
I have heard from my colleagues about students coming to Uni with no financial management skills. (I know personally a student who is so badly in debt that she needs to work all summer to pay off her debts incurred this year )
I felt, my son needs to learn to take responsibilities. He will have to make that call to the toll operator and sort it out. And I just have to accept the fact that even though an early intervention would have saved a lot of money, sometimes children need costly lessons.
And so I wait.
There are only two options.
He calls the toll operator in the next few days and sort out the mess.
He doesn’t call the toll operator the next few days, he will receive another letter of demand and the amount of money owed would be higher.. and then another.. and then another.. and if he didn’t pay up, he will get a debtor’s note.. and a negative credit history.