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In the past few years as we have been thinking a lot about entitlement, we have realized that one of the greatest antidotes for entitlement is ownership. When kids create and then own their own goals (instead of always being prompted by their parents) it changes everything!  Every summer while our kids were growing up we had our kids earn their money by setting goals and accomplishing them.  This is not a system of bribery, it’s a system of rewards….and when they had to buy their own clothes and computer games and movie tickets this was a pretty good incentive to actually accomplish their goals.  That tradition has now carried on to the next generation. Read below our eleven-year-old grandson Ashton’s summer goals posted by his mother (our oldest daughter Saren) on her blog:

Summer Deals

Growing up, my parents did a great job helping us to come up with goals that we’d work on each summer and we’d make a “deal” regarding how much they’d pay us for successfully completing our goals.  This was a great way for us to use our extra time in the summer to earn money when we weren’t yet old enough for “real” jobs and when we needed to be motivated to be actively involved in worthwhile pursuits rather than expecting to be entertained.

Last night after the Entitlement Webinar with my parents, I promised to post one concrete example – my son Ashton’s “Summer Deal” that he’s working on to earn money to go with his cousins to DC and spend the 4th of July with his aunt there.

So below you’ll find Ashton’s “Summer Deal” (with Ashton’s permission – in fact he copy and pasted it into my blog for me).  You’ll see we had him come up with goals in several categories and that there’s daily or nearly-daily component that goes with most goals and an end-result goal that goes with most required repeated actions.  We did have to trade this “deal” back and forth a few times – telling him to up the ante a little so we could make a deal both parties felt was great.

After doing these goals for the full month of June, he’ll have earned $100 towards his plane ticket and with that plus the money he’s been saving all year and some money we said we’d kick in, he’ll be all set for a great trip with his cousins.  And he’ll really appreciate it because he really worked for it.

We have offered him the courtesy of a reminder to do his stuff quite a bit, but mostly he’s been very self-motivated since this is his deal that he made up and since it’ll take him a long way towards something he really wants to do.  He has a spreadsheet where he checks off each thing he did each day before going to bed at night.

For our younger kids, they’ve also made summer goals and deals but theirs simpler.


Reading (30 minutes/day 7 days/week. Read 6 books, 3 being award winners)
Math (20 minutes/day, problem solving, 5 days a week. Learn 4 new math concepts)
Writing (blog post 2 days/week and work on book 3 days and work on journal 2 days/week)

Scriptures (at least 10 verses/day, 5 days/week)
Prayer (5 times a day)
Memorization (at least one Article of Faith or scripture/week)

Play basketball (3 days a week, 15 minutes a day. By the end, be able to make 15/20 baskets)
Run or bike for 30 minutes, 2 times/week.

Skills & Talents
Play guitar for 20 minutes each day, 3 times per week. Be able to play two new songs by the end of June.
Piano – same as above
Helping others
Babysit for neighbors at least 2 times for free
Help Oliver and Silas learn something twice a week (Reading, math, technology, etc.)
Secret service, 2/week (make bed, clean room, give gift, etc.)

I can have one pass per week per category – that means I can forget some things once in a while and still make my deal.

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