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What’s the Value of a Dollar? Part One

February  4, 2015

Some parents give their children an allowance: a set amount of money given regularly, without requirements.

Other parents give chore money, where the child must earn the money through household jobs.

My husband and I have chosen not to do either.

My boys have jobs that are required to be done. If they don’t, an animal will go hungry, or a cow won’t be milked. Harm will come to others if the job is neglected.

When the boys were small, we gave them jobs that they could do. Everyone had a before dinner job to do for chore time. When chore time was finished, they could eat dinner if they performed their designated chore. Usually, it only took one time for them to conveniently ‘forget’ or ‘not want to do it’ to realize that hunger is a powerful motivator.

We also require after dinner chores. These chores clean up the house for the next day. The chores have changed as our needs have changed. Right now these include: dishes, sweep and mop kitchen floor, sweep and mop dining room, clean table and move chairs for the person moping the floor, and vacuuming the family room and hallway. On some days, some can be minimized or skipped, but overall, they are done every day, except Sunday.

On Sunday, I do the dishes, or use paper plates, or everyone washes their own dish (in theory only). No other chores are done, except animal chores like milking, feeding and watering. These are kept at a minimum. This is their ‘rest’ day, before they switch to the next chore for the following week.

We also assign weekly chores, including bedrooms vacuumed (following finding the floor), bathrooms cleaned (toilets, sink, floor mopped),  and cleaning selective other areas, like stove tops and the mud room, and sweeping decks. This is also when barn yard, garden and outside chores are done.

As needed we’ve added to these chores: special projects, cement work, building animal shelters, fixing fences, pulling weeds, picking beans. These things are necessary to make things work at our house. We may award dollars to those with cheerful attitudes.

How does that teach children the value of a dollar?

Can you understand value, without a cost?

These chores teach the boys that their job is essential for maintaining the family. It takes all of us to make things work. Any job, small or big, is essential. Without the table set, we all can’t eat. We’re a family. We need to work together. This is training.

Many of the boys have developed their interests to include making money. One raises chickens and eggs to sell. Another raises pigs and moves cows from available pastures for others. Another cuts firewood. They pay for their animal feed, gas and materials and keep what they make. Our older boys have started their own lawn business, doing weedwhacking and lawncare. (They are required to save half and tithe ten percent of what they make.)

This does more to encourage the younger boys to develop a business than any teaching that we could do. They see their brothers making money. They see the value of a job.

What’s the value of a dollar?

The value of a job well done. 



How do you teach your children the value of money or of a job?

I'm encouraged to know that you mop your floors almost every day! :) Thanks for your writings and for sharing your life in this way.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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