Parents have different opinions about paying children for work in the home. Some are comfortable paying for at least some of the work their children do, while others are not. Some believe that any work done in the home is simply part of being a member of the family. Others believe it is appropriate and even beneficial to pay for some work done in the home. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Parents need to prayerfully consider what is best for their own families.
We chose to pay our children for some of the work they did, and I would like to explain what we saw as some of the advantages in our own family.
- When we paid our children for specific jobs, they learned the biblical principle that money and provision are connected to labor. If they worked well they were rewarded. If they didn’t, they missed out. In fact, we even had them pay us for a few jobs that were done especially poorly. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). We chose to not give them an allowance. We gave freely to our children in many other ways, but we did not give them money. If they wanted money, they had to work for it.
- It gave us training opportunities. The children learned to be good and faithful “employees” who followed directions and did even more than what was required of them. Small household jobs prepared them for other more challenging jobs – in our family business and for others outside our home.
- They learned at a very young age that our money (and everything else we have – including our very lives) belongs to God. He blesses our work and uses it as a means of providing for us. As a result of this thinking, they learned the habit of tithing very early. It was just assumed that 10% of their earnings automatically went back to God and another portion was always set aside for benevolent purposes.
- They learned to be thrifty. Because we were paying for some of their work, we chose to have them buy their own clothes. Fads and designer brands are far less important when you’re spending your own hard-earned money instead of your parents’ money! It’s easier to wait for a sale or shop at a thrift store when you’ve worked for the money you’re spending.
- They had money to invest in profitable and not-so-profitable business ventures. They learned much in these little businesses – even in the ones that didn’t make very much money – lessons in diligence, organization, communication, sales, and the consequences for negligence. Using their own hard-earned money in business ventures helped them plan carefully and follow through on their plans.
- They developed the habit of budgeting — a habit that will serve them well throughout their lives. They couldn’t spend everything! We’ll talk more about budgeting next week!
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