For whatever reason, our four youngest kids woke up feeling ready to tackle the neighborhood and earn some money. The two older boys teamed up with ideas for doing yard work and J and O had plans for earning money by doing dog-related jobs.
Knowing the kids the way I do, I was pretty sure that this was going to end in some kind of catastrophe. However, I do like encouraging them to be ambitious, creative and industrious (as well as working together), so I didn't want to let on that I was feeling very nervous about the whole plan.
I did make one rule though. Before they could go out to the world and seek their fortunes, they needed to do the jobs on their list here at our house. I figured they should be doing this any way, as productive members of the family; it's good for practice; and it helps limit their greed and encourages them to do jobs because they want to serve, not just for the moolah.
Here are the lists they made (click to make big):
So, O had to finish cleaning up the loft-playroom before he was allowed to start on the dog list, because he earned cleaning it by himself as a consequence. That left J bored and waiting for him. Then I thought about my sister's yard and how pretty much her only stable landscaping is weeds and she's always needing them pulled. She was more than happy to have J come over to pull some. I dropped her off right away.
The older boys talked over their plans with C and ultimately, he gave them the same requirement I did. Do it here before you do it everywhere else. Well, that didn't seem as fun, I guess, so the boys decided not to pursue it. Then in a sudden change of heart, they started doing the jobs here -- correction, H did! Z figured if they weren't going to pursue the neighborhood wallets, then there was no point in doing it here.
So after H did a good job with the stuff on the list, I paid him a flat rate of $5.00, for which he was thrilled about.
Around lunch time, I went to pick up J from my sister's house. She'd pulled some weeds, but she was easily distracted by her cousins' presence and tended to split her time playing and working. Even still, my sister paid her a dollar and a pack of gum for her good intentions and some weed disposal. J kept repeating to herself over and over again on the drive home, "I can't believe I made a whole dollar!" as if it was a crisp C-note in her hand. She's seven, so she's still fairly easily impressed.
Now C needs to empty, clean and refill our hot tub, so he's going to get kids to help with that and offer a little more financial incentive to obtain some assistance. It's not in the typical realm of chores, so it's worth a couple bucks to have them stand in there and scrub.
Oh, and C took one look at J and O's list and said to me, "Um, there is no way I'm going to let two 7-year-olds go try to walk other people's dogs ... that just does not sound safe!"
O was with me when I picked up J from my sister's house and he was getting a little jealous of her dollar and said, "Well, someday, I'm going to be soooo rich!"
I said, "You know, O, it doesn't matter that much because all money belongs to God."
He said mockingly, "Yeah, J, your dollar is really God's dollar."
To which she replied, "And because I served others, God thought he should share some of his money with me."
I busted up and said, "You're right ... serving others is good and sometimes it does pay off."
She said, "See, O? If you serve others, maybe you'll share some of God's money, too."