My Boys and Allowances

I have never paid an allowance.  I have never agreed with paying children to do their part in a household.  Parents unselfishly drive, grocery shop, wash, ect. Once a child is on their own no one is going to pay them to do what is right.  No one is going to pay them to clean up after themselves.money puzzle

It’s my personal belief that paying an allowance teaches an attitude of self entitlement.  Not paying for some of the extras help the kid figure out what he/she is going to do about it.  Want that bike….go mow lawns….need more air-soft pellets, go stack wood for the neighbor.

I found this article that also explains it perfectly:

Most commonly, a family is an interdependent group of people living together in a love relationship.  Members of the family depend on each other and work together for the benefit of the unit as a whole.  They share most everything and do not benefit by keeping separate accounts of “yours and mine.”  Just as parents make dinner, wash dishes, clean the home, and offer transportation without expectation of allowance… children should be trained to contribute in much the same way.

By paying children for daily chores we are actually robbing them of their opportunity to contribute based on love, and instead teaching them that they should be paid for their contribution to the family.

So what about reward for excellent behavior?  Rewards should be given for going above and beyond the normal call of duty – thus earning a bonus – but not for performing everyday tasks.

You get paid for a job, and your home comes with responsibilities that you do not get paid for, yet there is a satisfaction for being responsible.  Lets teach that lesson, not a lesson of self entitlement.

BUT if you are going to pay allowances here is a great suggestion:

A Proper Distribution

Since allowance is a tool used to train the child on the matter of proper money management… what about taxes?  I believe children should have taxes taken out of their allowance in order to paint them a more accurate portrait of how money is handled in “the real world.” Some may find this legalistic, but I’d rather they be as prepared for reality as possible.

Here is a solid outline for proper distribution of their allowance.  Take this and make it your own based on your situation.

  • 15% giving – Based on gross amount… taken before taxes or anything else.
  • 10% to taxes – Just as we have to pay taxes as an adult, we should give the child a similar opportunity… after all the idea is to train them.  Put this amount back into their college savings fund or some other savings account to be used for their future.  It may not seem like a lot, but remember… every penny counts!
  • 25% to savings – What to save for?  This is a very personal matter to be determined by the parents.  If nothing else, simply save it to save it.
  • 25% to bills – This is a very powerful concept, so keep an open mind here!  This money should go back to the parents and gives the children the unique opportunity to contribute to the household bills.  This builds confidence, self-worth, and an unmatchable feeling of usefulness.  This philosophy can also be used to teach them to conserve spending on household utilities, groceries, etc.  As much as possible, try to involve them in the bill paying/grocery shopping process… doing so will give them a “vested interest” in cutting costs.
  • 25% to spending – This can be used as the child desires, but be careful here – proper use of this portion is critical in shaping their future spending habits.  If they want to spend it, they can spend it.  If they want to roll it into their savings, they can do that as well.  If they want to help out with bills, that too should be welcomed!  I think  you will be surprised by how much of it they simply want to give back to you in an effort to further “help out” with the costs of running the home!  Always make yourself available to help them make these decisions.

Give the children all their money up front, so they can see it and physically handle it.  Then help them divvy it up according to the distribution system you set up.  Also, include a statement of distribution so the child can see where all their money goes; just as your employer does with your paycheck.  Do not simply withhold a certain amount, because you want them to be as involved as possible.

 

( I apologize for the lack of reference to the above mentioned article.  I do not have the record as this is from an old post.)

How I Almost Allowed My HopeTo Be Murdered (Orig posting date 7/22/11)

I have always cherished my hope.  My hope has kept my chin up and my heart warm thru some very trying and dark times…Until recently.

I wasn’t seeking (isn’t that when it always happens!), totally caught off guard.  That was problem #1, we must always be on guard.  Within a few months I found myself deeply falling for someone. ❤

Then my hope for finding someone eventually evolved into having my hope in this person.  Problem #2.

There were some very real challenges from the beginning, and I was completely aware of how that would try my patience, my understanding.  What I did not realize is that I was putting my hope on the line.  Problem #3.

Without going into detail (out of respect for that person), I need to tell you that despite my acknowledgement of the challenges, and yet it was still a very young relationship (only 4 months), I was absolutely devastated over the breakup.  I was angry.  Just plain smashed if you will.  I could not understand why.  It really was not a huge loss.  So I had to ask myself why?  Why the hurt?  Why the anger?  Why so crushed?

Then I realized I was losing my hope.  The hope that the Lord had someone just for me.  The hope that I could be loved, cared for by another.  Let God shaped hopeme tell you the feeling of loss hope is a deeply dark and devastating feeling.  Losing your hope is equal to dealing with a truly broken heart.  So how could a mere man steal my hope?  I know better then that.  Real hope, true hope only lies with the one and only true God.  We must cherish, protect that hope.

My friends stepped up and reminded me of who I am.  The Lord reminded me of the hope I have in Him, and Him alone.  I will never again give or place my hope into a mere man.

But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. ISA 40:31

 

Teachable moments

Almost daily we encounter small moments where we can teach our beloveds just a bit of truth.  Sometimes we don’t even realize it has happened.  The other week one of our kiddos fell victim to what we thought were one of my many parental controls.   Now before you go thinking I run a monastery at home its quite the contrary.  It’s not about control, it’s about me being alert to what they are watching, reading, and playing.  I feel it is my God given responsibility to be “all up in their business”.  It’s up to them as to how painful it will be 🙂  There is always freedom of choice in my household.  Which also means the freedom to screw up.  But we use these mishaps as teachable moments.

Back to the recent encounter with my controls.  One of the boys had gotten a new PS3 game for his birthday, Call of Duty Black Ops II.  This is a rated M game that is condoned in our house.   For those that may not be familiar this game includes the ability to play online with other gamers both locally and gaminginternationally.  Online play is different then just playing on the system.  You can control the settings on a system, you can not control another person (behavior or language).  Online play has been a touchy subject, and recently I lifted the block as they are getting older and have shown good judgement.  They were first taught how to use the system, which included how to block other users.

Well, one of the boys tried to play online and he was blocked.  He was sure Mom messed up on the control settings.  I assured him that I had it set up correctly.  I did some checking and this is what I found on the PSN board regarding this issue.  No matter your parental control settings or content settings, if your teen is under a certain age (COD Black Ops II is 15+, or Rainbow Six Vegas 16+) the server for the game host (not PSN) will block them. You will not be able to change this setting. They have done this to prevent legal suits. The ONLY way around this is to create another profile with a new email and to LIE about your age.

Really!  The recommendation is to LIE to get around this control.  May I encourage you as parents DO NOT ALLOW THIS, even if you have allowed your teen (of which we have) to do play some of these games! It encourages lying and justification to circumvent rules that are set. It’s not a big deal to wait or play as a guest on an older sibs profile.

Which is more important?  Integrity or to play online?  What happens when this scenario comes up at school or work?  Teach them now and they will at least have the tools to make wise decisions in future situations.

  Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out

Proverbs 10:9

Sometimes not seeing is the only way to believe.

Approximately two months ago I had gotten a very strong notion that change was pushing in.  While it was vague, it was a very strong impression.  I prayed, and I prayed.  I could not get clarity.  Did I need to changed something?  Did I need to look for something or someone?  I had no idea what to do with this.  All I could do was pay attention, pay attention to details and people.

I began to notice stuff.  Some of it was small things, like not being included for menial things with a group I felt I was deeply a part of.  Things became increasingly more difficult, like basic time management between all of my commitments.  Relationships became strained over things said, and those things left unsaid.  The discord became unmanageable.

I was at a total loss.  Here I have this urgency, but no where to go with it.  I just simply could not see.  I was totally in the dark as to what the Lord wanted.  Why couldn’t He just tell me!  Oh, how I was getting miffed.in the dark

I prayed.  I knew I needed to address these difficulties one at a time in order to get clarity.  There was just too much noise in my life, too much “crap”.  I began to handle one difficulty at a time.  Realized it was time to move on from this deeply cherished group.  They did nothing wrong, but my season with them was over and I need to trust that He had prepared a place/a need with in another group, somewhere.  I needed to address the time management issue.  That meant giving up a small job I really cared about.  I gave notice trusting that He had a plan for them and me.

While I still have not fully connected with a group, I did get confirmation that turning over my little job to another was divine.  This new person is so much better suited for the position given his personality make.  I left praising the Lord after briefing him and with no sorrow.

I still feel the wind of change blowing thru my life, my families life.  I still can not see the whole picture and how all the disconnected pieces fit.  But the anxiety has left.  When you can’t see what is a head, just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.  You will be able to look back and truly believe you have listened and responded to the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes not seeing is truly the only way to believe.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  2Cor 5:7

Forgetting is not Forgiving

If you have been a Christian or been around Christians for very long it would have become apparent that forgiveness is a fundamental attribute.  More so, it’s a very clear command (Luke 6:27-36).  But what does real, heartfelt forgiveness look like?  I think this is where we, I have gotten it wrong for so many years.  This is how a Christian, myself, a believer for 2 decades got it wrong.

I have heard many many messages on forgiveness.  After all if you do not forgive those that have preaching (1)done wrong, how is it you can expect your Father in heaven to forgive you (Matt 6:14,15)?  We must love our enemies, and not repay evil with evil.

But what does this look like in real life?  You know, life behind our front door-in our homes- or every day happenings, like holiday dinners with family?  What does it look like when we know what was done is absolutely wrong and we have the need to see justice?  After all it’s clear wrong is wrong, and right is right.  If there is a law it should be kept, right?  A father that abandons his children and owes more then can ever be paid in support should be in jail because the law says so, right?  An ex that slanders out of hurt and hate should be made to pay, after all we have the right to sue, to punish if you will, right?  When your disabled son is told he is evil and has demons out of ignorance, that church should pay for the hurt he will feel for the rest of his life, right?  The mother that forces her children to live in filth, to live in fear of police, to live so isolated, to live in fear under her constant threat of suicide, she should face consequences, right?

Fact is if we hold others to the law, we ought to be held to the law as well.  That does not mean that we never report abuses, it does not mean that criminals should not be held accountable in the court of law.  That is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about in our own hearts, minds, and actions.  There are agencies that have been given the duty to pursue injustices.  Even if they are not doing their job, it is not OUR job to seek justice.  This was personally one of the toughest ones justicefor me to digest.  Forgiveness has NOTHING to do with justice.  In fact in order to love your enemies it is the exact opposite action as seeking the justice WE see fit.  You can not do both.  Justice is not up to us.  It is not our fight to fight.  If we are wrapped up in earthly battles, God can not use us for His heavenly purpose.  This is why justice is up to Him and those in authority to do so — without us.  If we do not trust Him in regards to justice then we are not living a life with him as Lord. ~~Ouch~~

Forgetting does not equate forgiveness.  We can not simply push down, ignore, or forget the wrongs.  We can not simply act as if it never happened and call it forgiveness.  Forgiveness must be received by the offender in order for it to be legit.  How can they receive your denial?  They can not.  Forgiveness is not hinged upon an apology.  It has nothing to do with the offender accepting your forgiveness, or apologizing so that you can move on.  Forgiveness is not a duty or a chore.  Forgiveness is a gift, therefore nothing in return should be expected. 

We can not just be courteous or polite.  We can not just duck and cover from the flaming arrows aimed at our heads and loved ones by crazed ex’s.  We can not just be gracious with our words when speaking of those that have hurt us oh so deeply.  This is not forgiveness.  This is exactly how one can be a Christian for many years and yet not grasp the concept of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not kindness or the exercise of good manners.

“…Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you….”  (Luke 6:28) Bless them?  Do you realize what this means?  Well, I looked it up, let me tell you.  “To bless” means “to confer or invoke divine favor upon”.  Crap!  “Invoke divine favor”!?  That means we can not just erase the bad memories, be nice to those that are mean, bad, wrong, whatever and move on.  “Invoke”…do you know what that means?  Well, I looked that up too.  It can be taken two ways in this case:  “To make an EARNEST request for” or “To put into effect or operation”.

So putting this all together what this means is that rather then continuing the pursuit for jail time for that father that abandoned his children, I need to make an earnest request that God bring him favor.  Taking that farther, if the Lord provides me with a way….anyway to bring him favor, I must do so.  After all as my Pastor put it today….if he needed a shower and he goes and read about it but then did nothing what good was it unless he takes action and actually takes the shower he read about.

If I were to say that I was thrilled to find out that all these years of being “nice” wasn’t good enough and now I have an ever growing list of people to bless would be sarcastic.  So would you think that God just would leave it at that, oh no.  He took  it further with me today.

REJOICE!  We are to rejoice in the Lord.  So now I am supposed to be happy about it?  No, that is not what this is about.  It’s about remembering that if we are going to say Jesus is Lord of our lives we must believe it in our hearts (Ro 10:9).  He is sovereign and has total right to take all the negative junk (I actually have another word for it but it probably isn’t so appropriate) in our lives and use it as He see’s fit.  It will be for our good, you can be guaranteed of that (Ro 8:28)!

So while I am still not “thrilled”, I can rejoice….I can truly forgive….and it is time to bless.  Because if I don’t then this was all for nothing.  Sprout-in-barren-land