May 08, 2004

Sow What You Reap

One of my favorite things to do is to reward my children's labor. They receive an allowance; one dollar per year old they are per month. We don't give money for chores, but we do take away percentages of allowances if chores aren't done before breakfast, without prompting or whining and complaining.

When they go beyond what is required, we pay them extra. They divide their money into three catagories: save, spend, and give. They purchase all birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, etc. themselves. We give them an allotment of $360 a year for clothes. I buy their jeans, undies and socks, and shoes. They must select tops, skirts, dresses, and any accesories themselves.

My mother did none of this for me and how I wish she had. Let's just say

that someone somewhere, has a very nice house because of all the late fees I have paid in my life. Now, it's not entirely her fault. I am, after all, a thirty-four year old woman and I can no longer blame my mother in eduated circles. So, I take responsibility for myself. But, I do believe that had some accountability and correct modeling of money management occured when I was younger, perhaps I may have avoided so many NSF notices.

I want for my daughters to be smart with money. No freaking out over how to pay the telephone bill; or trying to bribe the public services guy who's there to shut off the electricity; or leaving Peter naked in the road and tossing his tunic to Paul.

So, tonight, after my girls and the neighbor girls helped weed, turn over the soil, break up the dirt, throw out rocks, spade, and rake our little flower bed, I determined that we would reward their hard work with ice-cream and Peter Pan.

And here they sit, piled on the futon and the floor, with bellies full, bodies tired, and lesson learned that hard work yields, not only good things, but a sense of purpose and satisfaction, and a little bit of fun.

Me? I watered the bed and deeply breathed in the smell of the wet earth; it's scent intoxicating and soporific. It has been a lovely day and now I must go tub, soaking my body in frightfully hot water, and recall an afternoon well spent.

I could ask for no better Mother's Day weekend. Thank you.

Posted by Rae at May 8, 2004 09:53 PM | TrackBack

Wow. Your story could very well be mine, Rae!

My parents--mostly my Dad but my Mom is guilty of not keeping a firm hand on his impulsiveness--were not the most responsible people in the world themselves, especially when it came to financial matters. Every dollar store and thrift store between Central Texas and the Gulf Coast probably knows him by first name, and he's certainly put more than his share of store operators' kids through college. I didn't develop any money sense until I met and married my husband Eric, and I still have to bite back my compulsion to spend freely if we near a bookstore or boutique.


Posted by: Denita TwoDragons at May 9, 2004 09:07 AM

I wish my mom would have taught me money manangement like you are teaching your girls.

Posted by: Amy at May 11, 2004 07:36 PM
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