Friday, July 20, 2012

The Value of a Dollar Earned

Our boys came to us about two weeks ago begging for a game. They really, really, really, REALLY wanted this game. Would we buy it for them? Pretty, pretty please?

The irony here is we've been talking about needing to cut back on a lot of stuff to get certain debts paid off. We're not rich, by any means. We don't spend an awful lot of money. But due to not enough income to supplement the inflation in prices, as well as several emergencies that have required the use of a dreaded credit card,  we're not doing as well as we have in the past. So looking into the faces of our two little boys who really, honestly thought we'd just buy them a new game was a wake up call in our need to help our own kids realize money is not always there whenever we need something.

A plan was devised to help them earn some money. The car needed a good cleaning both inside and out. There was a flower bed in desperate need of weeding. the pantry needed a thorough examination to see what had expired, what would expire soon, and what would last us a while longer. We agreed on a price for each job. These jobs plus a few others would help them to pay for their own game.

At first the boys were all excited. Halfway through the weeding job their excitement waned, especially when friends came over hoping for someone to play with, but they plodded on. Halfway through cleaning the car Mr. B was disheartened to hear about all the little places they needed to get in and dejunk, but he hitched up his shorts and kept going. I could hardly believe the commitment these two young boys had in regards to earning the money for something they really wanted.

When the pantry job remained Mr. J was called away to participate with a scouting event. I thought this might keep them from finishing with the pantry this week, but Mr. B surprised me by tackling this all on his own. He rocked it! I couldn't have been prouder to see him figuring out what could stay and what needed to go (though I have a feeling many things that could have stayed now reside in the garbage can).

I have paid my boys for these jobs. Someone will be paying them to keep watch over their house while they go on vacation.  It has been awesome to see their dedication to doing a job well done. On a whim I thought I should try looking on Amazon for the game. Not only did I find it for half off, but we found two controllers for a discounted price as well, something they eventually also hoped to earn money for. Their excitement over getting both put them over the moon!

I told them two things had to happen before they got their game and controllers. First, they had to pay tithing. Second, they had to pay me for the "merchandise."

Tithing is really important to me. I have seen the blessings that have come from returning to the Lord 10% of what we have been blessed with. Tithing is the first thing out of our paycheck. I want my kids to have that same reverence and respect for what they have also been blessed with. We have gone over exactly how much they'll need to pay, and both are so happy to do it.

I want them to pay me the money so that they can see this is not just something I did for them. This is something they accomplished though their own hard work.

Ms. M has had a babysitting job for the last two weeks. She works with a friend Thursday and Friday from nine to five watching a couple of kids. It's not an easy job, but she's very proud of what she's accomplishing, of the responsibility being handed to her. She too knows tithing is important, and is also planning to get many of her own school things so we don't have to.

The last unexpected blessing has been in seeing our littlest want to earn some money as well. Her skills are limited, and she wants to give up mighty quick. It's taken a lot of prodding to make certain she does the job she's been assigned, and does it well. We want to see her recognize even this early what it means to do a job well done, to know what it means to earn an honest dollar.

Today the boys' game arrived. Their faces as money was traded for the merchandise was awesome to behold. This was in every way their game! I may never get my living room back, but it's been worth it.

One last unexpected bonus: this week Mr. J was helping me with the grocery shopping. We were in a crunch for time and by the time we got home from the store and brought the groceries in the house I was desperate for a shower. "Mom," he said, "you go ahead and take a shower. I'll put everything away." "Are you sure?" I asked, both surprised and delighted by his offer. "Sure," he said with a shrug. I got in my shower, and he put the groceries away. A little act of service from a boy who'd been working hard all week. LOVE IT!!!

No comments: