A week in books and nothing to show for it

I loved Little Women like every other red blooded American girl does, but so help me I could not get through Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.

I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t like this book. The writing was all right, it seemed accurate and well researched, but I felt like I had to force myself through every page. Perhaps I am simply not as big an Alcott fan as I thought. I slogged through fifty pages over the course of several weeks, and I finally realized that when I don’t LONG to pick up a book, I need to put it down and let it go. I currently have thirty other books on my shelf waiting to be read.

As a partial redemption, I did read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr.: Teaching Kids About Money. I’m going to call it a partial completion because I read the book but didn’t listen to the included audio CD. Perhaps the good stuff is all on the CD. The book includes a story about a little boy named Junior who forgot about what he was saving up his money for and blew his earnings at a video arcade so he didn’t get the video game he wanted when he wanted it. The story would be fairly useless with my kids, since they have zero experience with arcades and have never played a video game, but I could probably concoct my own version of a story with the same moral. That said, I kind of dislike kids stories that beat you over the head with “and the moral of the story IS…..” type stuff. That said, the point is to teach kids about the value of saving money, not going into debt, and so forth – the basic tenets of Dave Ramsey money management.

Aside from the story about Junior, the book also suggests setting up a chart of jobs for the child and assigning a payment structure so that the child earns a commission rather than an allowance. I have read differing parenting theories on the concept of allowance – should allowance be given just for being part of the family, or tied to doing jobs? If it’s tied to doing jobs, what do you do when the kid says they don’t want money so they refuse to put away their clothes? Shouldn’t they do jobs around the house to help the family rather than for monetary gain? I don’t have a position on this and am honestly asking if anyone has any insight!

I have reservations about using this program with my kids, although some Amazon reviewers said it was great for kids aged 3 and up. Maybe it would work better for first graders? Or maybe for kids who would not be tempted to stop being helpful unless they were getting compensated financially? I’m afraid the potential risk is that kids will lose sight of the reason why we work together as a family and get caught up in the acquisition of money, rather than learning how to be wise stewards. Maybe 4 and 2 1/2 are not good ages to start teaching that lesson anyway?

If anyone has any thoughts on allowance or teaching preschoolers about money, let me know!

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