The Golden Nickel: The Magic of Teaching Stewardship

Yesterday I read a blog post that left my mouth dangling.

It was genius!

Entitled The Golden Nickel, the author described how he and his wife had found the solution to get their kids  to clean up after themselves and take responsibility.  Clearly that is something I have been struggling with.  Making and sticking to chore charts while living here just isn't practical, it doesn't work.  I thought making a Zelda chore chart would solve the problems, but honestly, I have yet to make it.  Call that laziness on my part, or more accurately, lack of knowledge on how to do it.  

And so, when I learned about teaching children to be good stewards over their things, it just seemed to make sense.  It clicked.  

Yesterday the kids and I sat down and read Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.  

We then read the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-29).  I asked Keith what they had in common, and that smartie surprised me.  He said they both had things they needed to take care of and didn't.  I told him a steward is someone who has things to take care of and asked if he was a steward.  He said yes.  I asked him what he is a steward over.  

"My sister." he responded.  I think my heart melted just a little.  He is such a good boy.

I explained that he needs to help protect her, but both she and Keith were to be taken care of by me and his Daddy.  He thought a moment longer and then said he was a steward over his room, and his toys.  We talked about how he could be a good steward and take care of his things.  We then came up with a plan.

Every morning before he leaves his room, he needs to make his bed, put his jammies away and get dressed.  Also, he needs to make sure there are no toys on the floor.  If his sister is awake, he needs to help her get her things done, too.  During the day he needs to take care of his toys and books by not leaving them laying around on the floor, and keep them put away.  He needs to do all of this without being reminded or asked.

At the end of the day, there will be an accounting.  After he gets ready for bed and before we say our prayers, he will tell us how he was a good steward during the day.  For the set things (bed, clothes, etc) he will get a nickel each.  For extra things that I ask him to do during the day, he will get more nickles, and for me finding things he did without having to be asked, he will get a Daddy Time Token.  The DTT is worth 5 minutes of playing anything he wants with his dad.

To help him remember, I commissioned my mother in law to draw some pictures to help them remember.  One will be a picture of children making their beds, one will be of children getting dressed, and one will be of children putting their toys away. A-la the 1950's Dick and Jane style, of course. My mother in law is a wonderful artist, and we are all excited to see what she creates.  The pictures will be framed and placed on their walls where they can see them.  

At the end of the day, I ask the kids to go through the house and check on their stewardship.  To make sure they are being good stewards.  That is when they go through and pick up any extra toys lying about, and make sure everything is picked up and put away.

I am so excited that my kids are now eager to pick up after themselves!  I am thrilled that they are excited to do their chores!  And that they now understand what it is to be a good steward and can implement it.  I understand that they are little and will most likely need lots of reminding and help on this, but the fact that they understand is so wonderful to me!

I was very sick on Monday, so we also talked a little about being good stewards over our bodies.  If we  do not take care of our bodies, our health will be taken away from us, so it is important to only put good foods into our bellies, and to exercise like we should.

My boy ate it all up.  When he was offered ice cream later in the day by some neighbors, he shook his head and said "No thanks.  It's complicated."
He is gestating the things I am trying to teach him, and I couldn't be more proud!


Jenny said…
You are a neat Mom!
Trish said…
Great work, Amy! Maybe I'll have to do that when mine are a little older and can understand! Sounds like a wonderful idea!
Noodle said…
My kids are just lazy... They know what and how to do be good girls and even that we are all happier when they are but they still refuse to do it... But mom I don't feel like it... sigh we still have a lot of work to do on this front =)
Emmy said…
Yea! What a great idea! I hope it continues to work for you really well. And love it- it's complicated.
Lisa said…
You are a genius!! And I want a copy of those pictures, if you are willing to share. I've wanted to make a 'chart' of sorts using pictures for my kids but have never found any decent ones and I don't know any artists! I hope you are feeling better!
Kmama said…
Wow! He sounds very smart and very mature for his age. That's wonderful. I really hope this is what works for you in the long-term.

Thanks for linking up with Emmy and me.
Susan Anderson said…
"No thanks. It's complicated."

Love that kid.


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