Monday, June 29, 2009

The Prize

When the weather gets pleasant, we are often looking for family activities that will get us outdoors and moving! Last year, following an excursion to a local nature preserve, we began mulling over the idea of purchasing roller skates. The problem was, because we had not planned ahead, there was no budget for that type of expenditure at that time.

As you know, in some cases we just say, "We don't need that" and move on, but because this fit in with our family goal of being together and getting exercise out of doors I began to wonder how we could make this happen.

We talked about it and came up with a simple plan. We'd put a mason jar in the kitchen and save up any money that came our way~ this included Valentine's Day money sent by Grammie; money for birthdays from Grandma; Little bits of Christmas money; Money from chores and so on. All the kids worked together choosing to feed the jar rather than treat themselves along the way.

Well, a year rolled by (forgive the pun) and a few weeks ago the girls got excited about counting the jar. I was a little worried. Although Tom and I had planned to slip a little money in unawares we had actually forgotten to. Boy were we surprised to find that the girls had saved $94.67!

Today we went to Target where they were selling adjustable skates for between $20-$40 a pair depending on the size. We excitedly realized that we would be able to buy Faith, Michaela and Sarah's skates with the jar money they had saved. You should have seen those happy faces. And because they are adjustable they should last for years.

I called Tom at work and told him the situation. His only stipulation was that we buy wristguards as well, but he was so proud of the girls that he offered to buy those and the final pair of little skates for Lydia~ you know the kind that just slip over your shoe and don't really roll at all? So cute.

A couple of months ago I found Dr. James Dobson's book, The New Dare to Discipline at a thrift store and picked it up. I came across this sentiment that he articulated so very well:

"There are few conditions that inhibit a sense of appreciation more than for a child to feel he is entitled to whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. It is enlightening to watch as a boy or girls tears open stacks of presents at a birthday party or perhaps at Christmas time. One after another, the expensive contents are tossed aside with little more than a glance. The child's mother is made uneasy by his lack of enthusiasm and appreciation, so she says, "Oh Marvin! Look what it is. It's a little tape recorder! What do you say to Grandmother? Give Grandmother a big hug. Did you hear me Marvin? Go give Grams a big hug and kiss."

Marvin may or may not choose to make the proper noises to Grandmother. His lack of exuberance results from the fact that prizes which are won cheaply are of little value, regardless of the cost to the original purchaser.

Although it sounds paradoxical, you actually cheat him of pleasure when you give him too much."

We don't always get it right, but as the kids were enjoying their "prize" won after many months of saving I couldn't help but think this was going to be one of those treasured memories that would influence and serve them in their future.


Lydia in her skates with her cousin Joshua and sister Michaela in the background.


  1. What an inspiring story. Congratulations to your daughters! I hope they enjoy their skates for a long time.

  2. Loved this post, Rebecca, SO special! Love to you all.


  3. P.S. Lisa, when you were here I showed Randy our jar and shared that the girls had worked all year and saved $94. He instantly turned to Faith and said, "Hey, do you have $94. I could borrow?" We were cracking up! He's so funny.

  4. Great post! Thank you for reminding me of that Dobson quote. That very scene he described happened in my living room three days ago as my 3 year old daughter opened her birthday presents. Do you have any more tips on what you've done to cultivate a Biblical view on spending, saving, and giving with your girls? :)


  5. Hi Catherine,

    You know, sometimes we just don't have visibility to the type of issue until something like a birthday comes up. The Lord has blessed you with the opportunity to see this at 3 and not 13! He is good!

    I'd love to share my thoughts with you and the road we've taken. I don't have it all down, but opportunities like these (to wait and save for things) we've never regretted.

    I will do my best to write a post on this topic~ money; what we have recently decided to do about chores and pay and so on in the next few days.

    Blessings to you!

  6. Rebecca, thank you for this wonderful post! What a great reminder for us all as you have shared the lesson learnt and sweet moment shared with your girls. :)
    I am wondering- did you receive an email from me? Just hoping the address I sent it to was valid! Didn't want to overload your comments bar with my questions. :)
    Thank you again for sharing your life,

  7. Hi Saminda!

    Please forgive me for not getting back to you earlier today! It was such a busy day, which of course included roller skating once the weather cooled down. : )

    I loved your e-mail and just sent you a long e-mail in return.

    Blessings friend!