The Sweet Fruit of Hard Work in Our Young Children

2012 - Abraham volunteered often to rake the leaves and clean up outside with his siblings. Age: 4 almost 5

2012 - Abraham volunteered often to rake the leaves and clean up outside with his siblings. Age: 4 almost 5

Someone forgot to tell the little boys to clean up their mess before they could eat their lunch today. That was me.

I was lying in bed for a while because my tummy has been aching a little probably due to something I ate a couple of days ago. There’s a possibility it could be a little bug that’s going around too, but I doubt it.

Clean Up the Living Room

The living room wasn’t that messy, but there were a number of things to pick up.  Most of them were contained in our large indoor trampoline.

A few decorative couch pillows were still on the rug where they like to “camp” with them and build forts and things.  There might have been a couple of other things on the floor and the rug, but I don’t really remember:  I wasn’t dwelling on it.

I needed to go to another room to take care of something so I asked 7-year-old Abraham if he could tidy up the living room area.  I just asked him very casually and calmly. 

Aug 2010 - Abraham (2 almost 3) helps Mommy make homemade organic dough for all kinds of yummy things to eat

Aug 2010 - Abraham (2 almost 3) helps Mommy make homemade organic dough for all kinds of yummy things to eat

Aug 2010 - making delicious muffins, mini raisin loaves, and other homemade treats

Aug 2010 - making delicious muffins, mini raisin loaves, and other homemade treats

Aug 2010 - Heistheway (7), Pelaiah (5), and Abraham (2 almost 3) enjoy making almond butter cookies, tasting the dough, and getting some knitting lessons as Mommy knits baby socks

Aug 2010 - Heistheway (7), Pelaiah (5), and Abraham (2 almost 3) enjoy making almond butter cookies, tasting the dough, and getting some knitting lessons as Mommy knits baby socks

It Looked Beautiful!

I was gone for a few minutes.  When I came back to the living room to sit at my recliner to do work, the living room looked beautiful!  The teak couch back had all the pillows neatly placed for comfortable sitting again, the rug and wooden floor completely clean and free of any toys and trash, and the trampoline was without a trace of stuffed animals and other fun things the younger three played with this morning.

As I walked back into the living room, I didn’t expect Abraham to clean it right away since he was still cleaning up in the kitchen as part of his jobs after meals. I was very impressed!

2011 - Abraham (4) and Noah (2) help by putting away the utensils and dishes from the dishwasher. It's a little messy, but at least they're in the correct general area! :) They love helping, and that's the way we like it.

2011 - Abraham (4) and Noah (2) help by putting away the utensils and dishes from the dishwasher. It's a little messy, but at least they're in the correct general area! :) They love helping, and that's the way we like it.

2011  - Noah (2) and Abraham (4) put away our stainless steel plates, bowls, and cups and enjoy stacking them. This was one of their favorite parts of unloading the dishwasher.

2011  - Noah (2) and Abraham (4) put away our stainless steel plates, bowls, and cups and enjoy stacking them. This was one of their favorite parts of unloading the dishwasher.

Incentives for Diligence

Our children really do a great job at cleaning considering their ages. We also try to give them incentives. This way we feel we prepare them for life — for their future and to have a healthy view of work.  We tell them that if they like to eat (which they enthusiastically do), they should love to work. The more they work and are happy, diligent workers, the more they can most likely earn in the future!

2013 - 5-year-old Abraham enjoying a nice family outing and special treat at the Grand Marlin restaurant in Pensacola.

2013 - 5-year-old Abraham enjoying a nice family outing and special treat at the Grand Marlin restaurant in Pensacola.

We pay our children extra chore money and for many things they do as a member of our household. We’ve done this for years.  Their extra chore money can add up to a significant amount of money, but we believe that it is worth it.

We also sometimes fine our children as a creative consequence. While they can earn a lot of money by doing extra chores, they can lose their hard-earned money fairly easily too.  There’s no nagging or repeating. They just get a fine that is proportional to their disobedience or foolishness. :-)

2012  - Abraham (4) is excited about unpacking more of our shipment from our overseas move!

2012  - Abraham (4) is excited about unpacking more of our shipment from our overseas move!

2012  - Abraham (4) serves homemade organic pancakes from the flour we milled with our mill. I believe I had him help me flip the miniature pancakes in our cast iron skillets.

2012  - Abraham (4) serves homemade organic pancakes from the flour we milled with our mill. I believe I had him help me flip the miniature pancakes in our cast iron skillets.

Wise Financial Decisions

Tim told me last night that Abraham had already earned more than 100 dollars. I was surprised that he had saved that much money since we sometimes give them the opportunity to spend their money.  We try to give them opportunities to make wise decisions about spending their money so that they can see if what they get is rewarding and gratifying or was a waste of all the hard work it took to earn it. 

For the most part, we encourage our children to save up for something big and useful like a tool or something they can use to possibly earn some money with. We think it’s great they get to learn these lessons on money and finances early on!

2015 - Noah (5), Abraham (7), and Daniel (3) are excited to use the new fireman, police, and cowboy outfits they bought with their own chore money.

2015 - Noah (5), Abraham (7), and Daniel (3) are excited to use the new fireman, police, and cowboy outfits they bought with their own chore money.

2015 - the boys enjoying playing around at Barnes and Noble bookstore before deciding on what to buy. The girls in the meantime were trying to decide on buying a Bible case, a book, or saving up for something else.

2015 - the boys enjoying playing around at Barnes and Noble bookstore before deciding on what to buy. The girls in the meantime were trying to decide on buying a Bible case, a book, or saving up for something else.

Cultivating a Desire to Produce 

I looked at Abraham as he was cleaning up in the kitchen and said,”Wow Abraham!  The living room looks great.  You did such a great job!"

He smiled and laughed a soft happy chuckle.  I could tell he was pleased I was impressed. 

2009 - Abraham (2) loves to help Mommy smooth out the batter and anything else he can do in the kitchen -- especially taste the leftover batter in the bowl in the end.

2009 - Abraham (2) loves to help Mommy smooth out the batter and anything else he can do in the kitchen -- especially taste the leftover batter in the bowl in the end.

2012  - the children were given a special invitation by Executive Chef Budde of Hyatt Regency Guam while we were staying there. They got to take part in a special cake decorating class and got to top their cakes with all types of fresh fruit, nuts, and sweet toppings. After they were done, their cakes were boxed to "take home." We gave some away to relatives who lived on the island and shared some with some new friends and guests at the Regency Club Lounge.

2012  - the children were given a special invitation by Executive Chef Budde of Hyatt Regency Guam while we were staying there. They got to take part in a special cake decorating class and got to top their cakes with all types of fresh fruit, nuts, and sweet toppings. After they were done, their cakes were boxed to "take home." We gave some away to relatives who lived on the island and shared some with some new friends and guests at the Regency Club Lounge.

2015 - Abraham focusing on the instructions from his piano and violin instructor. When we moved, we transferred from private home lessons to using Skype with the same instructor. He is still a very diligent and patient student.

2015 - Abraham focusing on the instructions from his piano and violin instructor. When we moved, we transferred from private home lessons to using Skype with the same instructor. He is still a very diligent and patient student.

"So what are you saving up for?"

His response? A GoPro.

Our older three children have been trying to save up for a GoPro camera for a while (or comparable video camera) since we taught them a little about filming. Heistheway also produced her first footage using Adobe’s Premiere Pro by herself at the age of nine almost two years ago -- they have a little bug for photography and videography. They probably caught that from their parents!

It had been a while since I asked him why he wanted wanted one so I asked him again. “Why do you want a GoPro?"

“Because if you get good footage, you could possibly earn a living with it one day.”

I nodded my head in agreement. That was a great response.

2009 - 1-year-old Abraham watches his daddy use his Japanese saw to make our raised beds for our organic square-foot gardens

2009 - 1-year-old Abraham watches his daddy use his Japanese saw to make our raised beds for our organic square-foot gardens

2008 - 11-month-old Abraham watches as Daddy chooses wood at the lumber mill

2008 - 11-month-old Abraham watches as Daddy chooses wood at the lumber mill

Teaching and Learning for God’s Glory

We’re thankful when we can teach our children good work ethics especially about being diligent and being productive and joyful.  We know they have much to learn and continue on this road of life (we do too), reaping the joys of their wise decisions and hard work or going through the consequences of the opposite. 

It’s a joy for me, as their mother, to guide them in this journey knowing that ultimately they can use these talents and gifts for the glory of God. 

How do you cultivate and reward diligence in your family? Did your parents teach and reward diligence? Share in the comments below , on Twitter, or Google Plus.