By Buffy Lawson
Mister Man and I try hard to keep our lines of communication open when it come’s to raising our two sons. Being nine and ten, our boys are typically competitive with one another; and in order to have a peaceful homestead, we have agreed to do our best to stay on the same page as parents.
This summer we decided to give the boys a weekly allowance. When I first shared this news with them they hooted and high-fived with utter excitement. Until… I told them the rules of the deal. “So, guys, you have an opportunity to make ten bucks a week. Which is forty dollars a month! However, every time we have to pick up your dishes, shoes, baseball cards or make your beds, there will be a maid fee.” “WHAT!!!” They protested. “Yup”, I responded. “You see, maids don’t work for free and your arms and legs work just as good as mine. Well, better actually! So the next time you decide to leave your dinner dish on the counter, that is one dollar you could have had.” Payday was to be on Fridays.
The first week they didn’t make much money to say the least. One kid made a grand three dollars and the other only four. However, by week two, we did notice they worked much harder at remembering to put their things away. It was actually very exciting to watch, and I LOVED not having to be a maid!
I felt very proud of our little system and of the kids, as it was evident that they were learning in a fun way how to become more responsible.
However, I realized I dropped the ball because instead of giving them the cash, I was allowing them to pick up things from the store, deducting it from their allowance. I decided that cold hard cash in hand on Fridays would be far more powerful.
So, I went to the bank and got two ten dollar bills and called the boys downstairs. “Alright guys,” I began… “We are going to start this thing over—I am going to wipe last week’s slate clean and give you each ten dollars but…” and they both interrupted me in mid-sentence reaching out to grab the money. “HEY!” I blurted out. “If you don’t listen up, I will take the money back and call it a RUDE FEE.” My youngest son looked at me in all seriousness with his hands extended into the air and replied sharply, “WOMAN! You are just makin’ this stuff up!!!! A rude fee—sheeewww.”
If laughter does in fact add years to a life, our son gave myself and Mister Man a good decade with that one. A hilarious moment we will never forget. Which almost makes up for all of the gray hair that he’s given us.