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It’s becoming quite an interesting journey as I watch my
children’s father help them develop into responsible young men. Well, at least
that is what I hope that he is doing. My sons called me the other day to chat
after a week of not hearing from them. When I asked them what happened to their
phones this time, they shared that their father has informed them that they
must pay their own phone bills from now on.
My sons are now 12 and 14 and earn an allowance by completing
their chores. Because their dad offers them an allowance he also requires that
they spend their money on things they want. If they go out to dinner, they pay
for themselves. If they want to see a movie, even if he takes them, they must
pay for themselves.
My older son Saidon has called me on more than one occasion
to chat while his dad and younger brother are out to the movies. The next day
my younger son Solomon calls to whine about the fact that they can’t go to a restaurant
because he spent all of his money at the movies.
They will learn the value of each dollar they spend, they’ll learn that the things they own won’t magically replace themselves.
My friends often react in amazement when I share this news
with them. This is funny to me because I see absolutely nothing wrong with what
he is doing, it makes me feel proud, and my sons don’t think it’s wrong either.
They respect his rules and follow them without grumbling too much, managing
their meager budgets and having to sacrifice some things for the sake of
others, like grown-ups.
I never had to do that while I was growing up; I was given anything
that I wanted. This led to my having a very give-me-what-I-want attitude about
life, believing the world should conform to my rules and not vice versa because
I always get what I want, even if I have to do it in very creative ways.
My sons won’t have the luxury of being supported in this
way. I sit back and imagine what they would be like if I were raising them the
way I was raised, giving them everything so that they will turn around and
demand everything they want from the world. Instead they will learn the value
of each dollar they spend, they’ll learn that the things they own won’t
magically replace themselves. Most importantly they will learn that daddy cares enough to teach them to be responsible, and even though they may secretly
dislike it, they’ll probably do the same for their own kids.