This year, my older daughter announced that she wished to purchase Christmas gifts for everyone in the family with her own money. Problem No. 1: She has none.
I do not give my children an allowance because I expect them to do certain basic chores as part of their responsibility of being part of a family. I am, however, open to paying for chores that are above and beyond the regular call of duty. So, the negotiations started.
“Mom, I’ll do any jobs that you ask me to do. I just want to earn my own money. The presents I give will mean more that way,” she said with a level of maturity that almost brought a tear to my eye.
I would come home to find her raking a big pile of leaves, or she would offer to fold a large basket of laundry that had been sitting at the end of my bed for days. Soon, I was coming up with additional jobs that I had never considered before — wrapping Christmas presents, addressing Christmas cards, helping me clean out closets.
The other day, we were in a store and she asked me if she could borrow $10, which she would pay off by doing a chore when she got home. I lent it to her, and she promptly asked me to leave the store and wait for her in the car. I knew at that moment she was buying me a gift. When she finally came out of the store with a small wrapped package, she was beaming. It was all I needed to see to know that the plan is working.
So, forgive me if the corners of my wrapped packages aren’t perfect this year, and forgive the handwriting on my Christmas card envelopes (to be honest, mine is not much better). The lesson she is getting from the experience is far greater than anything I could simply teach her or tell he r— it’s better to give than to receive.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Click here to read about her latest book. Find her here on Mondays.