Photo on backtothebestbooks.com
Recently, the kids and I had a talk. We decided that throughout the summer they will read a handful of key books in exchange for their allowance. I first got this idea from John Maxwell, the leadership guru. I heard a talk that he gave about how his parents gave him money for reading books when he was growing up.
I will never forget how he shared personally about his parents’ philosophy about chores and getting allowance. John Maxwell’s parents didn’t believe in giving allowance for chores because they did not want to reward their kids for doing something that they should already be doing, since they are part of the family.
When I first heard this, it really went against what I learned. In fact, initially, it was a bit counter-intuitive. Many people have been raised to get allowance for doing chores around the house, whether it was taking out the garbage or doing the vacuum.
But this was not the philosophy of the Maxwells.
Instead, John’s dad gave him money (allowance) for reading books and then giving a written report on it. The more I thought about it, the more I came to the realization that John’s dad was “reinforcing” the importance of a habit that will allow John to get ahead in life.
John’s dad could have “reinforced” the habit of doing chores, but he didn’t because it was something expected from every member of the household. John Maxwell learned and began to see doing chores more of a responsibility rather than getting something out of it. Smart.
This got me thinking.
There are many things that I have to do as a responsibility that I do not necessarily get “rewarded” for doing. It is just something that I know that I have to do as a husband, father, and pastor. Therefore, if I only do it because I am getting paid to do it, then it will not be a good thing.
After talking with Christina, we have decided to reward our kids for doing something that we want them to continue to grow in, so that they will have many opportunities in the future to make a difference for Christ. This is going to be an experiment therefore, we will see what happens.
I have already downloaded some books on the Kindle and the kids are thrilled (at least for now).
I am praying that the books on leadership, influence, priority and difference-making will shape their minds to transform the world.