Today we are so fortunate to have Chuck Bentley as our guest blogger. Sit back and enjoy his words of wisdom on kids and work.
What a great idea and exciting idea to have a revolution in your own home! I love the mission and hope to be an encouragement to you and the compassionate crusaders who have joined in the battle.
First, some quick context. My wife, Ann, and I have four boys: ages 27, 24, 12 & 9 plus a grandson that is a year old! Our many years of raising children has taught us both the humbling and rewarding aspects of this sacred trust. We are very blessed that our oldest sons are pursing their dreams, are financially independent of us and are mature, responsible adults.
Parenting is a journey that promises life’s most heart wrenching challenges as well as moments of euphoric joy. I believe it is the testing ground of our faith where the fruit of the Spirit is most necessary and effective. I could go on but let me say how proud I am of the stand you and John have taken. I am proud of you. Now to the reason for my post…..
Lesson 101 for children is personal responsibility; without this they are helpless to accomplish their God given purpose. The cornerstone of personal responsibility is the character trait of Work. To teach your children to work, to produce, to accept responsibility for results, to bear the burden of completing a task that meets expectations is the foundation for their maturity into adults. The drive and ability to work is the first priority. The ability to manage the fruit of their labor is a secondary priority that I will cover in another post.
In our home, we established a simple pathway to prepare them to become workers and to one day be compensated for their labors.
Here is our approach:
I. Daily Routines – Make your bed, pick up your clothes, do your homework, take care of the pets, etc..these were expected duties as part of their daily responsibility. These activities were not a part of their allowance…no compensation for these tasks. This is the baseline of what it means to take personal responsibility for your own needs. Rewards for faithfulness are good, but this should not be viewed as their “job”.
II. Chores – These are the duties above and beyond their daily routine. Contributions to help Mom or Dad with additional duties like dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc qualified for an allowance. Everyone was expected to take part in these needs around the house and to do the job assigned to them.
III. Job Postings – To give them additional incentives to earn money, Ann would place a Help Wanted Ad on the refrigerator for work that she was willing to pay contract labor. These are normally seasonal or one time jobs like cleaning the garage, washing the cars, raking the leaves, pulling weeds, washing windows, etc. We paid the children a fair wage but expected excellence before the wages were paid. This was a great learning experience designed to prepare them to be employees under the authority of a boss or outside supervisor.
IV. Apprenticeships – We located opportunities outside the home to serve with professionals that were willing to offer on the job training in areas where the boys had shown interest. One son spent a year working in a cabinet shop learning fine woodworking. It taught him the meaning of a 1/32nd of an inch, elbow grease and the satisfaction of working with your hands. These normally require very minimal wages or an underwriting by the parents, but it places the children under the authority of a real boss and is an excellent interim step towards real employment outside the home. This should be pursued during the early teens.
V. Employment Outside the Home – This is increasingly more challenging in today’s culture; however, a friend of mine said he thought fast food restaurants taught his boys more skills for real life than any course in high school. The earlier a teenager is able to work outside the home in a quality environment the better. A study conducted by the University of N.C. (passed on to me by an alumni – I don’t have the research) concluded that a job outside the home in the high school years was the most common denominator for predicting the future success of their business school graduates. The expectation to show up on time, to do the job well and to get along with others is an invaluable lesson that cannot be overemphasized.
Hope this helps. I will try to post some tips on teaching the children to manage their income soon.
Chuck Bentley – Crown Financial Ministries, CEO