Funny Fridays: Taking 6 Kids to an Art Museum & Other Stories

At the Smithsonian National Museum of Art

When we went to D.C. this summer, I insisted we go and visit my favorite painting in the world, which happens to be at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall. While we were there, we perused the collections, along with our friend Amy and her children.

I thought the day was going amazingly well. We took 6 kids through a museum where you are supposed to be quiet, and I felt like we did a heroic job. The kids even sat on these nice sofas they had in many of the galleries.

After about an hour, Alan whispered emphatically, with the big eyes,  “Are you ready to go now? Please.”

“Sure…. C’mon kids, let’s go.”

Once outside, Alan looked like he’d just escaped prison.

Alan had a much different experience in the Smithsonian than I had.

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When Your Oxen (I Mean Kids) Are Messing Up Your House

My coffee table is covered in children’s books, a box of Legos, my Bibles, a box of crayons, a sippy cup, and ALL the little Lego men that I swept out from under the couch this morning.

There’s also a few preschool crafts and the remote control to the t.v.

Then there’s the center piece, all buried in there. It’s supposed to be an ornate pedestal bowl of THREE ornamental balls, but of course someone broke one…..when they were using it as a bowling ball, I believe.

Most of my house is as cluttered as that little table. I won’t even bother lying and saying it’s just because we’ve been busy lately.

Busy lately? Ha! It’s been pretty high tempo since about 2011.

We, like most American parents, live a little overwhelmed, stressed, sleepy, tired, and yes, we’re busy lately.

I rushed home from volunteering in the library this morning (BEST job ever– I love it so much I have trouble making myself leave it). As soon as I pulled in the driveway, the LOWE’s people were here with our new dryer.

Only I was being thrifty and purchased a dented dryer, so I have to send it right back because the drum is rubbing the dent in the side, making quite a loud racket. Problem not solved…

I unloaded the dishes and made myself lunch, but I needed some words of comfort.

Words of encouragement go a great distance when life is an uphill climb.

Kindness I read from a blogger a few years ago came back to me as I sat in my favorite chair, staring at that cluttered up coffee table.

She’s a mom of five boys, but she doesn’t blog anymore. Still what she said is with me though, and her words were so wise…

4Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.     

 Proverbs 14:4

Julie (the blogger) said that this verse reminded her of her life. Her house is full of oxen, and so her stable is never clean, but look at all the glorious benefits of having a house full of children, 5 boys in her case.

Yes, people without……oxen……have tidier spaces. People with more OCD may also be better at it.

People with the tidy mangers even occasionally say hurtful things to us.

In the past four years, several folks have (surely unintentionally) hurt my feelings about my house. They didn’t get it.

 

 

Normal, right? No, it gets worse than this. I do have enough pride to not show you those pictures

 

But what is that to us?

Our life is richer thanks to these oxen. There’s not a parent worth having who would not agree that their children are their greatest blessing.

Sometimes I’m actually embarrassed to tell people about all my children because it feels like bragging, which we try not to do!! This glorious blessing is not something any of us take lightly.

Empty stalls are for retirement. No thanks. I’d rather have my coffee table full of toys and my arms full of hugs. An empty nest will be something to embrace later, and I’m sure by then I will be ready for it.

 

For today, It’s better to have…..

coloring books in my dining room than empty place settings

Clean school shirts to fold on my couch than tidy rooms with no inhabitants

Video games in front of the t.v. than knick-knacks collecting dust

baseball hats on my hall tree than empty hooks serving no purpose

dried toothpaste in the boys’ sink than a guest bathroom that’s rarely used.

 

We can only clean so many areas at once, ya know? You do your best.

These little souls, made in the image of God, are put in our care for a season. It is our most precious duty. There is none like it, the charge to guard and bring up your children, both flesh and blood and adopted.

Your house is the stable, and your kids are the oxen.

And yes, it’s a messy job, but what a privilege!! What a privilege to have a house cluttered with preschool art and marked with chubby handprints. Be still my heart.

Eventually we will all be older and in a newer, cleaner phase of life. We will think we are still so busy because it will be hard to remember all this that we are doing now.

Maybe we’ll even shout to the neighbor kids to keep off the grass. Oh, I hope that’s never me.

But for today, the manger is full, and from the strength of the oxen comes the abundance of the harvest, and I am thankful. I hope you are too.

 

 

 

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Why Is It a Good Idea to Pay Your Kids for Chores?


Lately, I’ve started a system where each of our boys has a couple of new chores he must do each day. Yes, even the 4-year-old. I instituted this because I actually cannot keep up with the housekeeping all myself anyway.

I pay them a quarter for each of those jobs, plus I give them extra coins when they exhibit a wonderful attitude.

I’m able to pay them on the spot because I have a big juice jug full of change.

This has been working extremely well for us. Though yes, I always inspect their work, and make them fix things they’ve skipped over, like little Lego men peeking out from under the sofa.

 

Killing bugs for mom also counts as a chore. The 3 of them teamed up to kill the cicada under that stack of books! That particular job was free of charge. Ha!

 

Today I have asked Josh Wilson, of FaithFamilyFinance.com, to fill us in on why paying children for chores is a MARVELOUS idea, not just for us, but for our kids too….

 

Why Is It a Good Idea to Pay Your Kids for Chores?

One financial decision you will need to make with your children is if you should pay your children to do chores. There are several different reasons why this is a good idea. For starters, they can learn valuable life lessons. If you are on the fence about paying your children for chores, read more to find out why it can be a good idea.

Adults Work for Money

Adults work to earn money because they have bills to pay. Paying children for chores teaches them the value of work. They can learn about the incentive of working harder to earn more money. Just as you don’t get paid if you don’t work, you have the option not to pay your child if they don’t complete their chores on schedule.

Until your children are old enough to get a part-time job, paying your children for chores can be a good way to allow your children to work for a goal instead of simply being given everything they want.

It's a great way to teach your kids to work for a goal rather than being given everything! via @AprilandAlan storiesofourboys.com #responsibiityClick To Tweet

Chores Teach Commitment

Chores can consist of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Even if you decide not to pay your child for some everyday chores, money is a strong incentive to remain committed for additional chores. Your children can establish a work ethic early on.

Offering to pay your child for optional tasks that you don’t necessarily have to do is a good starting place. By not paying your child for every single chore they complete, you can reward them for their efforts while avoiding the entitlement spirit of thinking they “must” get paid for every chore or they won’t do it.

Chores Can Instill Entrepreneurship

Depending on your child’s personality, paying for chores can instill a level of entrepreneurship. By realizing they can make money by providing a solution to a need, completing chores in this case, they may decide to pursue their own side hustle as they grow older.

For example, if you pay them to mow the lawn, they might ask your neighbors to mow their lawns for cash. During the winter, they might offer to shovel driveways and sidewalks for extra cash. If you only pay them an allowance for not doing chores, they might miss out on these additional money-making opportunities.

Paying for Chores Establishes Expectations

As the parent, you can set the expectations for when your children will be paid for their chores. If your children don’t do it right the first time, have them redo the task to your satisfaction. Chores can be an excellent opportunity to learn attention to detail and working efficiently to maximize their earning potential.

Remember to consider your child’s age and experience when setting expectations. Just as there is a learning curve when you start a new job, your children will need to master new skills as well. As they mature, you can increase your expectations and maybe even give them a raise as well.

Chores Can Encourage Communication

Communication is a two-way street in every relationship. Paying for chores can teach your children communication skills that can benefit them in the professional world. On payday, you can review your child’s performance and encourage them or tell them how they can improve.

Your child can also improve their communication skills because they will learn how to accept feedback, good and bad, from their superiors. Chores can also teach negotiation. Your child might offer to perform additional tasks if they are trying to increase their income.

Children Can Learn Money Management Skills

Earning money allows children the opportunity to learn the value of saving money for future purchases and accomplishing other financial goals. If you offer them additional money for completing extra tasks, your children can have an additional incentive to work hard to achieve their goals sooner.

In addition to paying your children for chores, you can also teach them budgeting and banking. Instead of just giving them money and letting them go on a spending spree, you can have them divide their paycheck into saving, spending, and giving.

For example, you can help your kids open up a savings account and they can watch as their interest grows. Each month opens the doors for a new learning experience, and even earnings for your children. You should likely use an online account with low minimums and fees to help you children keep more of their money. My children use Capital One which has an account created just for them. This will prepare them for adulthood when a portion of each paycheck goes to taxes and living expenses.

Summary

Paying children for chores is one of the most debated topics about parenting. While no parent is required to pay for chores, doing so can teach your child valuable life lessons. If you decide to pay your child, remember that you don’t have to pay them for every single chore, and you can also base the payment on their performance.

 

 

Josh Wilson is the owner of a start-up personal finance blog, Family Faith Finance. Check out his blog and learn more about his journey through life.

 

 

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