I’m excited to bring you my very first Teachable Moment in my new series: Teaching Your Children About Money. Today we are joined by my friend Ann, a hard-working wife and mother of three from Indiana. Every time I’m around Ann, I come away encouraged and valued.
Let’s check out what teachable moment she has to share:
Please tell us a little about yourself and your family (are you married, how old are your children, what do you do for a living, etc.)
We are a fun family of five. Steve works at a local credit union and I am a part-time regulatory consultant. Our oldest, Miriam, is ten and an avid reader. One of her favorites is the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series. Oliver is an eight year old “funny guy” who enjoys farming with his grandpa and uncles. Five year old Josiah is mesmerized by his uncles’ bulldozer, excavator, and other large equipment.
What teachable moment about your children and money would you like to share?
While many chores are expected to be done without compensation, we sometimes pay the kids for extra jobs, or extended work. One Saturday, as we cleaned, I gave out coins for certain jobs and on a whim, gave one child an “attitude bonus.” This child completed the prescribed job without complaining or procrastinating, and earned a bonus coin.
Recently, I tried a new method to encourage extra chores without kids bailing. The first job was paid at a penny, the next completed job earned a nickel, followed by dime, quarter, and so on. My goal was to promote perseverance – and get help with housework/gardening!
What was the most rewarding part of the experience for you?
The kids learned attitude plays an important role in our lives. One child wore a cheesy grin for several minutes trying to “earn” a bonus.
What was the most challenging part of the experience for you?
One child grumbled about not receiving as much (so much for a change in attitude!).
When you were a child, what was your favorite money moment? (Could be your first “job”, saving up for something, giving, writing your first check, etc.)
I grew up on a dairy and grain farm and worked hard without expecting pay. When a teenager, however, dad “paid” me by giving me a calf. Two years later, I brought home a check. I bought another calf (dad agreed to feed one calf at a time). These calves, along with numerous scholarships and a 18-year-olds entire life savings, paid for my first year of college.
Let’s say a young couple with a newborn sits beside you on a bus. They lean over and ask you, “What are the three most important things we should teach our child in today’s economy about money?” What do you tell them?
- It’s God’s. An entry in my journal recalls a cute conversation with my then 2 and 4-year olds:
October 2, 2009. I have been teaching Miriam and Oliver “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Miriam often reminds me now that things are really God’s and He’s just letting us borrow it. The other day, she reminded me my shirt was really God’s. She suddenly stopped, looked at me quizzically, and asked, “Why does God have girl clothes?”
- God expects us to share His blessings. It really is better to give than receive.
- Work hard and save. In the wise words of my son Oliver, “You shouldn’t spend all your money on gum.”
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This article is part of a series called “Teaching Your Children About Money”. Do you have a teachable moment about your children and money to share? Email me directly at [email protected]!
Join the Discussion: What’s one example of when your attitude played an important role in your work?