Sarah grew up in a home where her parents did not provide allowances for their children. If she wanted her own money, she had to earn it. She could not earn money by completing basic or required chores. Her parents saw participation in the home as a part of belonging to the family. She was taught that she and her siblings were to serve each other and their parents, and that serving is the most normal way to love her family.
When Sarah was 8 years old, she asked her father if he would help her think of a way to earn some regular income so she could save some money to buy some things she wanted. Dad said he’d help her. First, he taught her that because she belonged to Christ, everything she had belonged to Him and was a gift from God for her to use wisely. Dad taught her that she was a manager or steward of the life, abilities, and resources God gave to her. So, if she were to earn some money, she would need to realize that this too belonged to God. Dad taught her that a portion of her money should be given to God’s work at church or to some ministry. Then she should save a portion, and finally she could spend some. But how was Sarah going to earn money?
Mom entered the conversation, and the three of them came up with a plan. Sarah had been helping Mom in the kitchen, so why not begin by making something edible to sell? They discussed some options, deciding cookies and brownies would be doable. Who could she sell them to on a regular basis? Dad worked in a facility with about 50 people. He asked permission to sell her cookies in the employee lunch room. It was approved. Thus, Sarah had an opportunity to pursue a goal through a project which became her small business. She ran this business for several years.
Every child needs to have some goals that are translated into some kind of project, whether it is a small business, a ministry, or a hobby. These teach most of the character lessons we’d like our children to develop. Children can also learn these through sports, music lessons, and performances. Children need a variety of ways to exercise and express not only their gifts but moreover their virtues. How can we teach children to take initiative and to follow through with their initiatives demonstrating thoroughness?
Paper routes, lawn mowing, running errands, pet sitting, and offering needed services are good options. It is good and wise for our children to learn to serve others, thus exercising their character while building skills and making some profits. These processes mature our children from the inside out.
What do you think of Sarah’s parents’ attitude toward allowances? What do you think about their collaborating with their daughter to help her build a little business? What has worked or not worked in your family to help your children exercise and strengthen their character?
I think it sounds like a great plan. We did a combination while the kids were younger by having them help with chores, etc. to serve the family. Sometimes we would have harder or special jobs that we would pay them to do. When they were older, we did give them some spending money but not as an “allowance”. It would have been neat to guide them in some kind of business like mentioned above. Thanks for your stories, Karen 🙂
I definitely agree. We assisted our children with paper routes and set them up with an envelope system so they could visually see how they were saving fro different items. Chores were expected but we would compensate them for some special projects if they needed more money. I had a ‘job jar’ for discipline that included washing windows, washing the car, vacuuming the car, washing the dog, etc. If they would ask to do a job from the job jar, and it wasn’t involving discipline, then we would pay between $0.50 to $1.00 per job. Yes, we made sure they had to work hard for the money 🙂 Every one of my children have continued to say that they were glad we did this.
I wonder how many readers now have a hankering for some chocolate chip cookies?!!