By Guest Blogger Rachel Haggerty, author of the blog Redemption Red: The Haggerty Life
Growing up the oldest of six children, there wasn’t any room for selfishness or entitlement. Any trace of that, junk was nipped in the bud pretty quickly in those close quarters. Six kids to one singe wide trailer. You do the math.
What I did learn as a child was to share, to eat what you were served and to be thankful for your home and your family.
We were at my parents house for dinner and I noticed that our eldest son, Asher, wanted to use the electric leaf blower to blow the leaves off of the front and back porch, and some of the driveway. I wasn’t surprised he wanted to help out in this way, his daddy is a landscaper, and he is driven with tasks. Asher has made it clear that he feels important when he has a specific job to do.
Asher continued to blow the leaves off the property for about an hour, upon which I made him come inside and eat some dinner. My dad, noticing how practically adorable and tired he was, handed him five dollars. In ones, Asher counted them as his eyes grew larger.
He had never had that much money to himself in his whole life. Until then quarters and dimes in his piggy bank made him feel rich, but THIS. This was REAL money. He put the ones in his pocket, and I watched as he sat down. Satisfied. Willing to work again. Happy. Accomplished.
It was time to go to the grocery store for the week. I planned the trip purposely for after Asher was out of school for the day. The van lit up with conversation on the way. Word got to his sisters that Asher had money to spend on whatever he wanted. Both girls spoke loudly of their opinions on the fact that they would not be indulging on any candy stemmed from hard labor. Two sisters, sobbing to have just one dollar of their brothers money were relentless.
The screams of unrighteousness and all other equal rights made its way up to my ears in the front seat. Trying to explain to them WHY Asher has money to spend and they do not wasn’t easy. But it was a lesson I needed and wanted them to learn right now. Right now when they are still young, when they can still understand that life isn’t always equal, not always fair.
At times they will have to celebrate other peoples successes. I wanted them to get used to that. So, when their big brother gave them each a dollar, I made them give it back.
Because Asher gave his money away because they were whining. They were obnoxious and crying for the money that he earned on his own. This reminded me all too much of the society we live in today.
When the fact is that when people work hard, they should be able to spend their money freely. This is another subject for another time. But I wanted my children, all of them to understand what it means to work for what you have.
In the grocery store, Asher counted his money. Five dollars he had to spend. I gave him the choices of his amount of money as I saw the wheels spin inside his head. I could buy two of these, or three of these. Or I could save it for something special. But who am I kidding. I’m a seven year old boy that loves candy that my Mom refuses to buy for me.
Aisle after aisle the items in the chart changed as he made the most important decisions of his life. To him, this choice had to be perfect. He had worked too hard to just blow it on ring pops when the Mr. Goodbars were on sale.
Finally he made his decision, added it to the cart full of green things and we headed to the check out counter. His smile said it all. He had earned that GMO candy, and he knew it. I put my items on the belt first, and paid for mine while he stood back in awe of what he was about to purchase.
I will never forget those eyes as the cashier told him the total, and he counted his money. He willingly handed over the three dollars he owed, smiled and stood back to look at his purchased goods.
One pack of mints and one bag of Sour Patch kids.
I hope he remembers the day that he bought something with the money that he earned. I hope he remembers the way I told his sisters that they were not allowed one bite unless he offered. I hope he remembers the way I valued his work ethic, and his hard earned money.
Asher worked hard for those five dollars. The first five dollars he has ever earned. I wanted him to feel seen, important and valued. Regardless of what his sisters complained about, he was valuable to be able to raise that kind of money.
Hard work pays off. Never let our children believe it doesn’t. Teach them the value of working for what you have. Respecting other people’s successes and valuing hard work for others, whether it pays or not.
Above all, teach them to give their all when doing chores around the house, or small jobs for others. There is something to be said about a child who values working, and the result it brings.
I never want any of my children to feel like this world owes them anything, but that as children of the one true God, they have all they need.
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