2 Oct 2008
Recently, as I was going to work in the morning, I saw a mom with a young child in a stroller on the bus. She gave her son some pennies, but, as many babies do, they like to throw things on the floor. I heard the mother say that it will be "someone's lucky day". Just before the bus arrived at the subway station, I heard the mother tell her child that she would give him another couple pennies, but, he should not throw them away. I left the bus and did not see her pick up the pennies and assume that she didn't. I kept thinking about what the mother did, and the example she was setting for her child. Perhaps, for her, it was like throwing money into a fountain -- it was fun. Perhaps, she was so blessed in her life that she can afford to turn those pennies into blessings for others and allowed her son to take part in it. Or, was she foolish and was setting a bad example for her son, by throwing real money away?
By definition, a penny is a coin or a unit of currency which was probably derived from the word pun in English, from the word pound, as used in measuring silver, gold. A penny was likely a fraction (i.e. 1/1000) of a pound. In Canada and the U.S., a penny is 1/100th of a dollar. The earliest mention of the penny by its name began in 790 A.D. when the first British penny was minted in silver. The U.S. penny, named after the British penny or pence, was first minted around 1787, in copper.1
A penny is the smallest unit of our (Canadian) currency. On March 31, 2008, a private member's bill was introduced which would eliminate the penny from circulation.2 Desjardins Group called for the end to the penny in a study which claimed that the Canadian penny is rarely used and costs at least $130 million annually to keep it in circulation. Desjardins also said that the hoarding or throwing away of pennies, rather than depositing them or putting them into circulation demonstrates "the coin's uselessness".3
Although I can see valid reasons for discontinuing the circulation pennies, I wonder what will happen once it's gone. Will we forget about them? Will we remember proverbs about the penny?
1. Lucky penny - Why haven't we heard about "lucky dimes" or "lucky quarters"? I have rescued pennies from sidewalks, shopping malls, roads, at bus stops, and from dirt. And, it doesn't matter whether you rescue pennies when it's sunny, rainy or snowy, whether it's hot or cold -- they're still LUCKY! An Irish penny saying: "See a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. Pass it on to a friend, then your luck will never end." Lucky pennies are gifts. Your day could turn out better and if you are happy about that, then it will have a positive effect on your life and even those around you. Why not pick them up?
2. "A penny saved is a penny earned" - SAVE...SAVE...SAVE. You can't go wrong with learning to save! Trust me, as I am typing this newsletter, I have to keep SAVING my document! Oh, we know how "reliable" word processing programs can be -- NOT! So, if we can learn to save a little at a time, possibly a penny at a time, it may seem small at first, but it will become easier to save more. From the time we come into this world, we experience struggles. It's impossible to not have struggles in life. When it comes to financial struggles, remember that age old saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned!"
3. "A penny for your thoughts" - If people gave me a penny for my thoughts these days, I'd be rich! LOL. The way I see it, we pay for books, so, isn't that like paying for someone's thoughts? I think thoughts are a great commodity - well, unless you pay a penny for someone's thoughts and think you should get change back -- not so good! We are so fortunate to be able to pay for books, magazines, newspapers, the internet, art, music, etc. in a free country such as ours. It may seem that thoughts are not very valuable since they're only worth a penny, but, then again, the fact that someone would even pay anything for thoughts sounds pretty awesome to me!
From the penny, I have been reminded that at some point in life, we may have missed the "little things" because we've been too busy, too tired, too sad, too whatever... And, it's not just the "little things", but, we may have ignored or took certain people for granted. How many blessings have we missed because we passed up on an opportunity for a great relationship/friendship or unexpected treat in life? Will you regret those seemingly insignificant moments and things later on in life?
If you have any comments about this month's topic, please feel free to email me or make a comment on my website at http://www.katszone.citymax.com/comments.html
To those who live in Canada, happy Thanksgiving! I'll check back with you in November!
Past episodes of KaTsZoNe: http://www.katszone.citymax.com/newsletter.html
1 History of the Penny, http://www.essortment.com/all/historypenny_rmor.htm
2 Penny (Canadian coin), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_(Canadian_coin)
3 Financial group lobbies for 'penny-less' Canadian Economy, http://web.archive.org/web/20070227065549/http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/070215/canada/canada_economy_money, February 15, 2007