Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear God: "Thank you for the dart gun."

Guy doing his morning job.
This summer, my kids have had six jobs to do EVERY DAY.

Scarlett doing her morning job.
AM Job 1:  Make bed, tidy room, put clean clothes away, brush teeth, get dressed

AM Job 2:  (Rotates Daily) Either clean windows, scrub bathroom, or tidy playroom

AM Job 3:  Behave (i.e. read or sleep) during "Quiet Time" 
(This actually happens after lunch.)

Guy and Scarlett:  On Dinner Duty
PM Job 1:  (Rotates Daily) Set table, Dinner Duty, or Toy Patrol (Pick up toys from living room before Daddy gets home.)

PM Job 2:  Kids choice (a.k.a. The Extra Mile Job)...They can figure out something that needs to be cleaned/done and do it for an extra mile job.  They can also help a sibling with their job for an extra mile job.

PM Job 3:  Get themselves ready for bed, lay-out clothes for next day, brush teeth, go to bed.

If they complete all of their jobs by 5pm, they can watch PBS while I make dinner.

If they do all of their "Jobs" every day (except Saturday and Sunday), they earn 25 cents.

If they ALL DO ALL OF THEIR JOBS...including the "extra mile job" then they each get an extra 50 cents for a total of 75 cents per week.  I think they've only earned the full 75 cents three times so far.

This little job schedule has made this summer a lot of fun for us.  We do our morning jobs first thing and then head out for adventures after that.

I probably would not have thought to do this in such an orderly way, except that during Guy's Parent/Teacher conference in preschool, his teacher was emphatic about how Guy thrives on order.  I thought, yeah, yeah, we have order.  We eat dinner together every night and read scriptures together every morning.  

But as I thought about it, I realized that we did not follow a strict schedule.  Our days are fairly free and unpredictable, and my kids are good at rolling with the punches.  But now the children are getting to a point where they want to anticipate and prepare for what is coming next.  So this was my way of giving them that.  

And doing jobs all summer has also been a great way to get them ready for the schedule and responsibility of going to Kindergarten:  getting themselves ready, keeping their rooms clean, taking the initiative to recognize a need and fill it.  They are young, but capable of a lot.

The kids love checking to see what their assigned job is for the day, and they take pride in the fact that they can do "grown-up" jobs around the house.

Scarlett even learned to unclog the toilet.

So the KICKER of this story is that after half a summer of this (and adding some $2 bills from his uncle), Guy had saved enough to buy something that he has really wanted for a long time:  a Nerf dart gun.  

We were at the grocery store waiting forever while the women ahead of us did a price check on a Nerf gun she was buying.  When we realized they were 50% off I said that Guy could use his money to buy himself a Nerf gun. The sale price was $4.99.

BUT when we went through the line again to purchase Guy's well-earned toy, the price rang up incorrectly--just as it had done for the woman in front of us the first time around.  So, we called the manager over and she promptly handed Guy the toy...FOR FREE...because they have a store policy--If something doesn't ring up right the first time, you get it for free.

Now what was I JUST saying about living in a material world?

As we walked out of the store with our groceries, I commented incredulously to Guy, "Wow, that was really lucky that you got that gun for free.  What a blessing...You should say a prayer thanking Heavenly Father."

The next thing I knew, Guy had dropped to his knees right there in the parking lot and said this simple prayer:  "Dear Heavenly Father: Thank you for the dart gun."

I just had to laugh at his perfect faith and immediate expression of gratitude.

I guess the lesson is that our children can learn what they need to regardless of what our particular circumstances are in this life.  There will be times that we will have everything, and times when it seems we have nothing, but both times are equal in their potential for demonstrating faith and values to our precious children.

Try as I might to orchestrate the perfect learning situations for my kids, the Lord always has a better I am happy to defer to him.


  1. Children really can be the best examples to adults. Love that he expressed his gratitude right then and their in the parking lot. If we were all a little more like Guy and thanked the Lord as soon as we received a blessing we would all thank the Lord for our blessings a lot more often.

  2. you are a great mother...who listens for inspiration and follows through.

  3. Children are great examples of faith! Last Sunday at the end of the CTR class i gave them some treat to eat and the twins[7 years old] said No because they were fasting! Wow, my jaw dropped!

    And I also love the way you teach them about work and reward!

  4. I loved this. Thank you for sharing it!

  5. This is fantastic! The principle of work, reward, and gratitude. What a great mom you are!

  6. haha that's so sweet! looks like he's getting the right lesson :)

  7. yes, that's why we have kids....servants. teehee.

  8. Such perfect timing on reading the post. :) My daughter just came up to me while I was on the computer and she was complaining that she should get an "off" day from chores. Her room is such a mess that she didn't finish it yesterday and is grounded until it is clean. I even helped her quite a bit yesterday. She said no one else has to do chores like her and so I showed her your post with photos that I had just opened. Thank you. :) So happy for your son!

  9. I took your words and made them a quote on my quote blog. I gave you credit. Want to see it?
    Here it is:

  10. So cute!!! You are definitely doing a great job teaching them. Wish I was as good at it as you are.

  11. This is such a great system! I've been wondering how to incorporate "jobs" into my boys routine. I like the idea of breaking them up into morning/noon/night jobs. I think my boys - who also love order and relish the idea of "helping" - would really respond well to this!

  12. Oh goodness, that is so cute! I wish I could have seen it!