Saturday, October 29, 2011


One of my favorite memories of growing up was going to work with my dad. He was a plumber and from an early age, I learned how to help him as much as my age and knowledge would permit. I still use many of those skills today. It was those experiences that helped me to gain a strong work ethic from an early age. I was forced to learn how to deal with working through long, hot days in Florida and entertain myself in the down time with things other than video games and television.

With all this being said, I want the same for my children. The problem is that like most jobs these days, Michael's job is not exactly a hands on experience where the kids can go to work and learn a trade from him. On one hand, he is able to exercise with them almost every day, teach them martial arts and help them to push their limits with his "man runs," but it's not the same as having responsibilities.

So how do you teach your children responsibilities when they don't have anything to be responsible for?  We don't live on a farm, so they do not have the opportunity to take care of land or animals. We cannot have pets where we live, so that is out of the picture too. We do volunteer when we can, but with the littlest ones and a lack of babysitting funds and babysitters, it's unfortunately a limited experience that cannot be done on a continual basis - yet. I feel like this is a problem that a lot of parents must face, and unfortunately, it is one of the reasons why a lot of teenagers struggle with an inability to act responsibly.

Philomena washing windows (with water of course!)
My family had us complete chores growing up, and for doing those chores we received a small allowance that we were allowed to spend or save by our own choice (within reason of course). I never thought badly upon allowances because for me, they were hard earned from a young age. I learned to value money and work hard. Once I started parenting I fell prey to the argument that allowances were bad. That was until my eldest reached the age of eight and I realized he seriously needed to learn the value of money, hard work and responsibility and I had no way of helping him to gain life experiences to learn those values.

So instead of just giving him an allowance without the requirement of chores in order to foster money management, I recently posted up a list of chores that the boys must complete thoroughly before they will get paid an allowance at the end of the week. Every day that they complete their chores, they mark them off the list and at the end of the week they get a small allowance ($0.50 for the 9 year old and $0.25 for the 4 year old). At the end of the month, they are allowed to spend some, but must save a percentage, and tithe 10% as well. 

My eldest, Dominic & me
And you know what? Suddenly, household chores are not so difficult to get them to complete any more - even the ones that are not on their chore list! When they clean their room, it gets cleaned properly instead of a quick, shove everything under the bed mentality. They jump in to help me take care of the kitchen and even Philomena started helping by washing fingerprints off all the windows (with water of course). What's even better? Money is no longer burning a whole in my son's pocket as it was before. He is saving now. I know some people may not agree with me, but I am proud to see my son slowly start to change his mentality from that of a boy who wants things to a young man who wants to work hard to earn money and think ahead of time about what he wants to invest his money in.