Marshmallow Mondays

…Grandma’s Quarters
                “Let’s go, boys; there isn’t time to waste.  We have to get home, make dinner, and you need to do your chores before your dad gets home from work.”

                “Grandma, can we get a candy bar?”

                “Not today.  I only brought enough money to buy food for dinner and decorations for Nick’s birthday party.”

                “Please, Grandma!” Alex begged.

                “Alex, I said no.  You must learn to save your money so that you can buy things for yourself,” Grandma said.

                “But how are we supposed to save money when Dad doesn’t give us an allowance?” Nick asked.

                “Okay.” Grandma said.  I’ll make a deal with you.  If you do all of your chores, I’ll make sure you are rewarded.”

                “Yeah, right.  You’ll probably give us a lollipop or something dumb like that,” Nick said.

                “How, Grandma?” asked Alex.  “Will you give us money?”

                “I’ll show you when we get home,” Grandma said.

                After arriving back home, Grandma began putting the groceries away.

                “Nick, will you please set the table for dinner?”

                “Why?  I’m not getting paid,” Nick said.

                “Alright, alright.  Here’s the deal; at the beginning of the week I’ll give each of you a bowl filled with two dollars in quarters.  If you complete all of your chores, I’ll put more quarters in your bowl as a reward.  If you don’t do your chores, I’ll take quarters out of your bowl as a consequence.  At the end of the week, you may keep whatever amount is left in your bowl.”

                Nick thought about it for a moment.  “That’s dumb.  A quarter is only worth twenty-five cents.  It will take forever until we make any money.”

                “You might be surprised at how fast it will add up, Nick,” Grandma said.

                “So, all I have to do is get my chores done and you give me more quarters?” Alex asked.

                “That’s right,” Grandma said.

                “That’s easy!  Can I set the table, Grandma?”

                “Thank you, Alex.  That will be a big help.  You just earned your first quarter.”

                Grandma then filled each bowl with two dollars in quarters and placed them on the kitchen counter.  She wrote each boy’s name on the outside and added one extra quarter to Alex’s dish.

                “Big deal,” said Nick, as he rolled his eyes.

                The next morning, Grandma arrived at the house to make sure the boys were ready for school.

                “Did you make your beds?” she asked.

                “I did,” Alex said.

                “Looks good,” Grandma said, as she peeked into Alex’s room at his neatly made bed.

                She then looked into Nick’s bedroom and saw that he had carelessly thrown his comforter over his sheets, which weren’t tucked in.  Grandma then checked to see if the boys had fed their pets.  Franklin, Alex’s turtle, was happily eating his turtle pellets.  Rex, Nick’s puppy, had a full dish of food but an empty dish of water.

                “Well, Alex, you did a great job of completing your chores.  Here are three quarters for your bowl,“ Grandma said.

                “Three?” Nick said, sounding surprised.

                “I told you that I would reward you if you did your chores the right way.  I’m sorry Nick, but I’ll have to take two quarters away from your bowl,” Grandma said.

                “I don’t care,” Nick said.  “This game is dumb.”

                Throughout the week, Nick became angry every time Grandma rewarded Alex, especially when Alex received a quarter for offering to help with the dishes.

                “That’s not one of his chores,” Nick said.

                “You’re right; it’s not,” Grandma said.  “But, throughout life you will learn that doing something without being asked will come back to you in a good way.”

                Nick still refused to take part in the quarter game.  But he couldn’t help notice how much Alex’s dish was filling up with quarters as the week went by.

                At the end of the week, Alex counted his money and discovered that he had earned $7.50 in quarters!  Nick only had fifty cents left in his bowl.

                On Saturday, it was finally time for Nick’s birthday party.  He helped Grandma decorate his cake and hang decorations.  His friends all showed up and had a lot of fun.  They went swimming and played kickball while Dad and Grandma cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.  After eating it was time to open presents.  Nick got lots of gifts including a new baseball glove from Dad and a piggybank from Grandma.

                “It’s too bad I don’t have more money to put in this piggybank, Grandma,” Nick said.

                “Nick, wait.  You forgot to open my present,” Alex said.

                Alex carried a small box to his brother.  Nick tore off the wrapping paper to find three packs of baseball cards.

                “Wow, thanks Alex!  How did you buy these?” Nick asked.

                “I used the money I earned from Grandma,” Alex said.

                “Really?” Nick asked as his cheeks flushed red.  “I guess that quarter game isn’t so silly after all.  I’m sorry for making fun of it, Grandma.  Can I start over next week?”

                “Of course, Nick,” Grandma said.  “I’m glad you changed your mind.”

                “Hey, Grandma, let me help you throw away the wrapping paper,” Alex said.

                “No, that’s okay, Alex.  I can help her,” Nick said, as he tried to gather more paper than Alex.

                Grandma laughed.  “It looks like I will have lots of help from now on!”


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

What a classic – we have the penny wars at our house

Comment by Dawn

Just shows how well positive reinforcement works…what a lovely short.

Comment by Bernadine

Love the story!! I think I’m going to try this technicque with my kids! They’re always arguing over who should do what I ask them to do and they’re always volunteering each other instead of themselves! Thanks for the idea! I will have to let you know how it turns out!

Comment by Richelle

I’ve started the quarters and so far… good! While my 13 year old doesn’t see the appreciation of a quarter, it’s starting to grow on him. He is realizing how quick they’re adding up and how much he can accumulate within a week. My 11 year old daughter still hasn’t cleaned her room, but she has made progress and is almost volunteering to help out around the house with the chores that I had to repeatedly ask them both to do. I’m really liking this!!! I’ve also come to realize that because it’s going to be ‘costing’ me money, that my freebie handouts to them all the time should seize and so…I am making them use their rewards/allowance to purchase what they feel they want and need. It’s also teaching them responsibility and appreciation for money. I’m so glad I read this story. I’ve done ‘sticker charts’ with them when they were younger, but as this age…..well…..stickers???? Actual money is what they understand now. Now…if only I could get the dogs to clean up after themselves…lol. Thanks for the great story and inspiration!!

Comment by Richelle

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