The greatest job I will ever have is that as a Mom to my children. I love Chris and the rest of my family fiercely, and cherish my roles as wife, daughter, sister, trainer and friend. But truth being truth – the best job in the world is that of a Mom. And, friends, also the hardest job!
Am I right?
As a perennial people pleaser, I work hard to ensure that my children are loved, happy, healthy, growing, learning, and exposed to new experiences on a daily basis. Perhaps more than anything else, I want them to learn to respect themselves and others, and their greater communities. Traveling as much as we do, my children’s community is LARGE and involves a lot of wonderful people. From extended family, peeps from Extreme Weight Loss and production, teachers, and CrossFit Kid coaches.
An Idea is Born
We, as a family, are incredibly blessed. Teaching my children to respect a community that so freely gives love and joy to them has been work. My oldest, Matix and Marley take it all in stride, but it’s still work. So, when Marley wanted a pink princess cash register, Chris and I decided we loved the whole register idea, and banking, and learning to deal with money. But the pink princess, plastic, empty lotion box part was not what we had in mind. So we offered to buy her a real, small, store cash register so that she could learn how to do banking. And when I tell you the scene involved the whole family standing beside the pink princess cash register, you can imagine that Mars wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea.
Jami Witherell, from Season 3 was visiting, and had just told us about the way she runs her classroom back in Massachusetts with a class Credit and Debit system. As we stood in the aisle, and Chris and I tried to explain that a tool for learning could also be a really fun toy, Jami offered to help make Marley Money.
I’m pretty sure Marley was sold once she heard the money would have her name on it, but when Jami offered fluorescent pink paper and stick on gems, I knew Marley was definitely on board. I guess I didn’t really understand what Jami and Marley would be creating until the bank was almost together. The great thing is, it’s a shared idea.
Creating the Cash
Jami helped Marley create money in different increments with her face as the picture. She loved watching that come together and then helping to cut out all the cash. We picked up an index card box holder and used the tabs to separate the different denominations, and of course, Mars decorated it with her usual flair. We then used a spiral bound index card notebook to create her “checkbook” or her Credit and Debit Book.
Here’s where the learning to respect yourself, others, and your community comes in. When the kids do something great: their chores (maybe without being asked), or help each other when they’re in need, or entertain my littlest one; they can earn Credits, which are simply slash marks in their checkbook.
When the kids are little off track, or I’ve asked them to calm down for the thirtieth time, or to put their shoes in their room for the umpteenth time (am I alone here?) – we can also ask them to take out their checkbook and they’ll receive a debit.
At the end of each pay period, they tally their own debits and credits. Let’s say they had 20 credits and 3 debits. They’ll do the math problem – 20-3, and tell the Family Bank they earned $17 (in Marley Money). The bank writes a check, that they can cash, or they can save.
Marley Money isn’t really accepted everywhere, but it can buy a Fro Yo Run, a new book for Read Aloud, or even a movie night.
It’s a system that allows for moments of growth and learning and acknowledges that no one is perfect all the time. Sometimes I’ll feel harsh giving a debit, but I know they have so much more time to earn some credits that day or the next and that’s helping them not get stuck in the “Bad Day Syndrome.”
You can download Jami’s Citizen Cash here:
You can get most of the pieces for the banking system on Beth Newingham’s Web Page (this includes editable checks and credit and debit log sheets in the “Class Economy” section of her site.)