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Teaching Hardwork

Updated on August 22, 2013


You mean, I was supposed to work to get my allowance?
You mean, I was supposed to work to get my allowance?

Money is Earned, Not Given

Some parents just hand over money to their children for no reason, and call it an allowance. Back when I was growing up, if you wanted an allowance you had to work for it. Our parents did this so we grew up with a work ethic, so we would know that we have to work hard to make money. Money isn't going to be handed to you in life, and you need to go out and earn it. Now, children just seem to be handed money at every asking moment without having to put any effort into it. And then everyone wonders why we live in a world where people expect free money without the energy of working for it? This isn't about politics, but this is about how we can change this and go back to our days.

My son had an allowance. Eventually he stopped getting said allowance because he decided chores were "too much" for him. He would keep nagging, "but I need an allowance". I would look at him and say "you need to work for an allowance. No work, no pay." He didn't fight too hard, the allowance was never money he could spend. All that money went into a bank account for him for a college fund. Sure he would get something small for doing well on his report card, since I pointed out that doing well in school was his most important job. Promising a video game as an incentive to go that extra mile was still cheaper than his $5 a week wage. (Yes, I know I get off easy. Some parents shell out much more for an allowance.) Still he would beg for money and when he promised to do chores to get it, he ended up too tired. This confused me, because when I ask for help he's always willing to help. I think children are just adverse to the word "chore" because it implies work is to be done, where as "help" just means a favor.

One day after a long day of chasing around the baby, I noticed soda cans and bottles all over the place. I bent down to clean them up, only I sat down on the ground and leaned against the sofa exhausted. It clicked. I could kill two birds with one stone here: get my son to pick up the bottles and cans and rinse them out to bag them and go to the store to redeem them. My son would end up making more in a week that way, and he would do something "fun". He would have to do work and earn the money, and that's something he needs to learn. "Isn't it rewarding to do something and get money for it?" I would ask him. He would always nod excitedly. Plus the added bonus is by taking them to redeem them for money, he's recycling and doing right by the environment. It's two lessons all rolled up into one. How many times do we get that sort of convenience as parents?

We're not doing our children any favors by teaching them that life will just hand them whatever they want when they snap their fingers. We need to teach them that you need to work for what you have, and the harder you work the farther you'll go. We can't let them think that you can sit around watching television all day and get money handed to them. If we allow that, we'll continue this cycle that our country is going on and no one will work ever again. I think we need to bring back that work ethic we were raised with. I had to do well in school and come home and do my chores. Being lazy was a punishable offense. If we stand together as parents and make our children do something, even if it's a 5-year-old dusting to start them on pitching in, we can teach the lesson that money is earned and not given. You need to work in life to get by. My son is learning that by waking up and going to recycle cans at 7 a.m., and he loves hearing the bottles get squished. He takes pride in this, and he takes pride in himself for doing it.

If I Only Knew

Even when I was tiny, I was still expect to work. Fake eggs don't cook themselves...
Even when I was tiny, I was still expect to work. Fake eggs don't cook themselves...

Thank You Steam

When it was discovered that on Steam (A computer application that you can buy video games on and play them) you can sell items for "Steam Cash", my husband immediately told our oldest son. I'm not sure if my husband was more excited than our son, but this is beside the point. Our son, pleased by this said "so I play a game, and I get an item and I can sell it for a game?" This thrilled him, and he immediately decided this was for him. Not long in, he realized you only really received a few cents here and there for these items. Again, a win/win situation occurred. Maybe even a win/win/life lesson. He became bored of playing video games for the item drops, and went he did sell them he felt accomplished that he did something for money. He realized quickly that if he sold an item for $0.23, he would only really get $0.04 from it. He decided this was unfair. "I did all that work, and I made barely anything!" I explained that he would encounter this in the real world. "Seriously? Unfair", he pouted.

"You father's company gets paid $100-$200 an hour for his work. Your father doesn't make anywhere near $100 an hour. That's how they make their money. Every business needs to make a profit."

He was satisfied by this, not that it made him happy, but he appreciated the honesty of the scenario. He did continue on for a while to try and make something, and when he made a few dollars off the process, he "clocked out" and decided that he was satisfied with the amount of work he put in. I was satisfied because in principle, he did do "work" for that money. They say "if you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life", right?

Children and Chores

Do you expect your child to do chores?

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