Continued” from last week ” There always were leaves to rake, plants to prune, weeds to pull, floors to sweep and lawns to mow. Our children often recall with laughter that their mother’s favorite Mother’s Day activity was a family work day in the yard. After a hearty breakfast, when the handmade cards had been read, her request for the day was that we all spend a few hours with her in the colorful flower beds, pruning bushes and roses together as a family. Yes, the children probably would have preferred to be swimming or enjoying some other activity, but they certainly did learn that working together produced a very appreciative mother”along with a beautiful yard toward which we had all contributed, and could all enjoy together. Their mother had worked and sweated along with the rest of us, even on Mother’s Day. Every family’s situation is different, and not everyone has a yard that can be the focus for children learning to work together, but the inside of the house or apartment is always a work opportunity just waiting to happen. There are always rooms to vacuum, bathrooms to clean, windows and mirrors to wash and trash to empty. One key is for children to be assigned age-appropriate jobs, with everyone working together along with one or both parents. While we wanted our children to know that their contribution was expected as family members, we still recognized that family chores can also be the vehicle for lessons of money management. We decided to set varying monetary amounts for various chores, with some jobs assigned daily, some weekly and others dependent on the individual child’s personal industriousness and how much they wanted to earn. It was interesting to see the individual natures of the four children: some spent their small earnings quickly on small items, and some saved and never spent. With time, they all came to realize that most everything material in life must be earned, and hard-earned dollars can quickly be spent and lost on items that have no lasting or redeeming value.
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