There is a terrible state of mind in our country today that says, "I don't need to work. The government will take care of me." And people say this with good reason. Politicians everywhere are trying to give out more money to anyone and everyone with their hand out. Our country has welfare, food stamps, government funded bill paying, and the most recent, a soon to be government run "free" health care system. The money is flowing out and seems to have no end in sight.
But the Bible, God's Holy Word, tells us a lot of truth about money. One is that "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Another verse says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8) So apparently, God believes in the "work for your money" idea.
In our homeschool, I put a lot of emphasis on teaching my children everything they need to know about money. This includes how to earn it, how to save it, good ways to spend it, and how not to waste it. My children do not earn an allowance. They never have and they never will. The jobs that most people pay an allowance for are things that my children are required to do simply because I allow them to live under my roof with nice clothes on their backs and warm food on their plates. They are required to help out with any of the chores that are needed to keep our household running smoothly. And I require a cheerful attitude in doing these things.
But, I DO offer my children numerous opportunities to go outside of our regular chores and work to earn money. There are a few odd jobs around our house that I don't always have time to do (or just don't feel like doing), so I offer these to the kids as a way to build up their savings. (My favorite pay job is weeding my garden! It's a hard job that I don't always have time to do, so I am willing to pay them to do it for me!)
So for the last several weeks, Britches and I have been busy at work making all sorts of crafts and preserves. There was a craft sale that was to be held at my mom's church, and Britches saw a chance to make a little extra money, so she wanted to go. We made strawberry fig preserves, pinecone ornaments, and pinecone wreaths. I added to the booth with some homemade banana nut bread and a few crafts I had sewn myself. Along with what my mom brought, we had enough for a good booth!
Today was the big day. We got up early, and headed to the church to set up our table. Britches helped with setting everything out, talking to the customers, and taking the money due for the purchased items. (She did spend quite a bit of the day browsing around at everyone else's booth and buying a few Christmas presents - with her own money.) She worked hard! And when the craft sale ended, she kept going and helped to load up all the items that didn't sell. For a nine year old, she was a real trooper! And by the time we made it home, she was worn out! Lesson learned!!
In order to have things you want, you need money. In order to have money, you work. Work is hard. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not so fun. But at the end of the day, when you're worn out and tired, you can sit back and count your earnings and know that it was worth it.
I do need to add something else to my story at this point. In helping Britches to learn this lesson, I actually came out in the hole on this craft sale. I bought her ingredients and any supplies she needed, and I contributed the bread without taking any of the profits. But the thing that I remind myself is this. She is nine. You cannot teach ALL lessons at once. We start out simply learning that work equals money. Later on, we'll add to that lesson a new lesson that says you have to set aside enough money for product. And even later, we'll learn about paying in your taxes on what you sell. (You don't have to pay taxes on the little bit of money made at small craft sales, unless you work a lot of craft sales and are actually making a living off of that!)
So I ask you this. Are you teaching your children that it's OK to sit on their rear ends and hold out their hands so that someone can drop something in it every time they go by? Or are you teaching your kids the God given truth, which is "Work = Money!"? Think about it.