So today is my son’s first day of summer vacation from school. He has already bumped up against boredom several times so far. Perfect! “Why are you working?” he asks. “Hey buddy, just because you don’t have school doesn’t mean I don’t have work! This is what summer is for; for you to get bored and figure out creative stuff to do!” Amidst our dealings there have already been several low-level, kind of whiny demonstrations on the home office floor. I even got a, “School plans are stupid, human plans are stupid and God’s plans are stupid!” I’m like, “OK buddy. Whatever you say.” (Thank you “1-2-3 Magic!”)
Then I devised the great idea of giving him his FIRST JOB. Household trash cans. So we went through a training of going around the house and collecting the 5 small cans of refuse into a bag. He even had the initiative to see this through all the way downstairs into our building’s trash room. Excellent! For this we are instituting his first PAY, AND his first ALLOWANCE. (Not to be conflated, right?). After discussion with Daddy Love, here is what we came up with.
50 cents (in quarters), as a fee for his JOB, once a week. And what you *earn* cannot be taken away. Plus 50 cents (in dimes) for being a responsible member of the family. And this *can* be docked (eg; ten cents at a time), as a consequence for undesired behaviors (or -as suggested in 1-2-3 Magic, the parenting book about which I hope to blog soon- for not performing duties… of which he really has none to speak of as of yet).
Lastly, for his allowance and fee, we have designated a specific piggy bank of his choice, this doggy one. And he has 100% discretion over how this $ should be spent (unlike the contents of other piggy banks which contains random $$ streamed to him from the universe, which can now more or less go into a savings account or the like, to accumulate until he is old enough to assume discretion over that as well). I am relieved because although I have fervently wanted to help lay the foundation for fiscal literacy in my kids, I didn’t really know where to begin with the piggy banks and the real bank, and what to designate he should save (and for *what* and how long exactly), and what to designate he can spend as recklessly as a five year old heart desires.
Meanwhile, I also impressed upon him that the responsibility for GETTING paid lies squarely with him. That although I will do my best to remember, it is up to him really to remind me, to see that he gets paid. We picked Monday as Pay Day (convenient, as today is Monday, right after I *I* do much of my own earning on weekends.) He even suggested he write me a note on Mondays and leave it by my bedside. I said, “Great! You know what that’s called?? An INVOICE! That’s how you remind people to pay you. And sometimes without it you don’t even get paid!” (Am I sickening you yet? I can just hear my mom groaning. Sorry folks; just doing what all parents do and compensating for what we wish *we* had growing up.)
To remind himself to *invoice* me so to speak, he wrote “Pay Day” on all the Mondays in his calendar through December. In doing this he also discovered that, yes, he *will* be going back to school in September (“DARN IT!”), yet there are TWO whole months of summer between now and then (“How long is two months?”), and that there are *28* of these magical Pay Days coming this year. And how much $$ is THAT? Wow, right?
OK so I’m a nerd. Too bad. I’m super psyched. NOT ONLY THAT, but how do you think I’ve managed to eek out this blog post just now? Well, my dear boy seems to have pushed through the boredom threshold by making THIS:
And now he is doing THIS:
One more shot, because he takes my breath away:
OK, that’s a wrap on desk time for me today. The kid DOES deserve to go outside, don’t you think? Bien sur. Moi aussi. A bientot!