I’m always on the lookout for fresh ideas that invite and interest young people in learning. It’s too bad the person who said this remained anonymous: “The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30 percent of their ice cream.”
The thought made me smile and consider how I might have given whoever said this some ice cream, but I’d have asked for a 50 percent share.
I doubt any of my students would be thrilled with giving up any percentage of their ice cream to me, but are any of us thrilled with giving up a percentage of our hard-earned money?
The word “taxes” seems to evoke less-than-happy thoughts and feelings from most people I have met. But there are people in this community who have chosen careers that include taxes. These people are as good, as hard-working and as tax-paying as people in any other profession.
In my continued quest to focus on something positive and not on my pain, my brain and I had another discussion. Who should be next? Who needed to be thanked and to enjoy an ice cream celebration of their coolness? My brain and I recollected our trip to the Lima Tax Department the week before to investigate and pay any Lima tax owed, and we smiled. Why not celebrate these people who helped us with our taxes? Why not bring them ice cream? This was going to be fun.
I had chosen chocolate and strawberry ice cream cup sundaes for the ladies who worked at the tax department. I walked in the door and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere for a moment. Two ladies worked at their desks. One turned in her chair and asked if she could help me. I recognized her, having seen her the week before. We had chatted and she had been friendly.
I smiled and offered the ice cream. Roxanne eyed me suspiciously and said, “No thanks.”
So I smiled again, assured her I was not a weirdo. The package was sealed, and the treats were individually wrapped. Then I told her why I was there: To focus on the positive, which was their friendly service in helping Lima people with their local taxes. Other women in nearby cubicles had paused from their work to look over at me and my ice cream treats and to smile.
“I wanted to say thank you and that it makes a difference that you’re so pleasant when we come in to take care of taxes. The ice cream was just an idea to cheer people up, but you don’t have to take any. I understand it might seem odd,” I said.
“I am going to stick with my ‘no,’” Roxanne said, though she was now relaxed and smiling. “For two reasons: One, ’cause of all the stuff that’s going on in the world today. And two, ’cause nobody EVER comes in here and says thank you!”
Everyone there laughed, but then I heard: “If it will make you feel better, I’ll eat some ice cream!”
Kim, who emerged from a cubicle that was hidden from my view, had been the one who had worked with me the previous week. Her smile lit up her face as she reached for an ice cream, and I said, “Yes, absolutely, you have no idea how much better it makes me feel!”
One other woman accepted an ice cream. After the ladies had thanked me for my idea, I turned to go.
“Hey Roxanne,” I said. She had returned to her work, but she said, “Yes?”
“Thank you! Now you can’t say no one comes in to say thanks!” I heard the laugh in her voice as she answered, “No, I guess I can’t. Have a good day.”
And how could I not have a good day? Any day with ice cream in it has to be good, at least for the few minutes it takes to devour it!
Dawn Kessinger lives in Lima.