Over the last two years he has saved up for a Lego set and donated to the Duke Lemur Center.
Unfortunately, this lovely earning/saving/donating money experience came with a problem I didn’t anticipate.
No income? No Lego set. No thank you cards from the Lemur Center or glowing praise from family members for choosing to donate your hard-earned cash either.
He wants to join his brother’s business! Great! It can be a partnership. He can make card sets too!
We set it all up in the backyard and Crappy Boy immediately gets to work painting a new batch.
Crappy Baby though…
He doesn’t want to paint. He want to cut the paper into tiny little pieces instead.
After a day of work, this is their output:
Um, those are really nice pieces of blank paper, Crappy Baby. But I don’t think they are very marketable.
So now what?
Hmmm, he likes cutting. How can I find him a job that involves cutting?
Completely at a loss for ideas, I decide to let Crappy Baby help with the cutting of the strings that gets wrapped around the card sets.
But there’s still a problem. Crappy Boy doesn’t want to pay him for this. “I could do it myself, Mama.” Also, “It only takes a second to do, I don’t think it is worth much money. It isn’t fair, these are MY cards.”
And he’s right, of course. It isn’t fair to Crappy Boy to make him share his profits on his work when Crappy Baby isn’t doing much of anything.
Yet it also isn’t fair to Crappy Baby to not give him something for his efforts. Oh, how heartbreaking and confusing it was for him when his big brother suddenly had enough money to buy a Lego set and he didn’t.
He really wants to make money, to have a “job” just like his brother. He’s trying! He’s just unemployed.
So what do I do? Should I pay him myself for his cutting efforts? A dime or a quarter perhaps?
Crappy Papa and I have gone back and forth on this issue over the last two years. Sure, we could pay him for doing almost nothing. It makes things easier. He feels like he has a string cutting job and he can save up money just like his brother and not feel left out.
But what happens to his work ethic? Are we setting him up to be a slacker?
What if, in 20 years:
I really don’t know what to do.
I’d love to know…what do you do to teach your kids about money? Making it, saving it, spending it, earning it, donating it? Do you provide ways they can earn money? Do they have an allowance? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.