My wife and I are not giving our kids allowance simply for existing. We’ve chosen a different path to reward them with money.
Doesn’t it seem our culture has lost the passion for hard work? I look around and see adults taking risky, unnecessary shortcuts in an attempt to get ahead in their career. I see people playing the lottery to get rich quick instead of choosing to build wealth over time.
Then there are those people in tough financial situations that won’t take certain jobs because they consider the position beneath their standards. Really? Must not be that desperate.
Our mindset has changed to thinking we should be given things simply because we deserve it. Someone else (like the government) will provide for me, right? So why work?
Sad thing is, these attitudes are being scooped up by our young people. We have a generation of kids who bristle at the idea of doing a 30-minute homework assignment on a Tuesday night. Cuts into their Snapchat time. If they do muster the desire to attempt the work, they only put in half the effort. They shut down if the answer to a problem causes them to think for more than two consecutive minutes.
More and more kids are refusing to push themselves to work. They are opting out of excellence. And when they fail, someone or something else is to blame.
If we are going to succeed in life and with money, we have to clearly embrace a concept found in the Bible – “In all labor there is profit but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
That’s why we are not giving our kids allowance.
Giving Kids Allowance Doesn’t Teach the Value of Work
Work, not mere talk, leads to profit. We can say our desire is to get out of debt, have a nest egg for retirement, pay off our house, and build wealth, but unless we actually do some work none of it will happen. Daily, focused, hard work over the long haul brings an increase of money that we can use to pursue our financial goals.
That’s what I want my children to learn. They need to feel the burden of work. If I just give them money (which is what an allowance implies), where will they learn that value?
They also need to experience the financial reward of work. To that end, we have developed a commission based payment system at our house that rewards our kids with money for the chores they complete each week. Do the work and get paid. Forget to the do the work and you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.
We’ve been on this plan for five years since our oldest daughter was eight. In that time, our four kids have grown in responsibility to the point where they are significantly contributing to the household chores. And of course, as their responsibilities have become more advanced, their pay per chore has increased.
More Than Just Monetary Rewards
The idea of giving commissions for work versus giving kids allowance for existing isn’t simply about external profit. When we push ourselves to work and pursue greatness, something develops internally that cannot be measured. Our character is built in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we were just given things.
I’ve shared before how my college professor for History of Civilization was notorious on campus for being tough. His content was enormous. His lectures were tedious and often over my head. Tests were a picture of brutality.
It was apparent from the moment I stepped into class that I would be in over my head. Even though it would negatively affect my GPA, I decided before the 6-week drop/add period expired that I was not going to quit the class. I would see it through to the end. So when finals approached, with a passing grade hanging in the balance, I settled down with a few classmates and some Mountain Dew for some all night study sessions.
I remember the feeling walking out of that final exam knowing I had given it my best. That positive feeling was only topped later after receiving a passing grade of C. In academics, C usually means “average,” but there was nothing average about that grade to me.
The grade itself was awesome, but I was more proud in myself…in the effort required to pull off that grade. I had pushed through a psychological barrier of effort in that freshman level class that truly helped me understand what true work meant. Those long hours of focused hard work in that one class helped develop the character I needed to propel me through the rest of college.
That’s what I want my kids to feel – to know there is financial profit in labor but also that it builds character. I don’t think they will develop that as keenly if I just hand over money to them every week.
How specifically does this play out in our house? As a follow up to this on Thursday, I’ll share exactly what chores our kids are doing, which ones we pay them for and how much they receive depending on their age.
Questions: Do the kids in your house work for money or do you give your kids allowance? In general, do you think the kids of today are struggling with the concept of working hard at a task? If so, what do you think is the leading contributing to that? Is there any other way we can make them see the value of work?
Image by Luke1428