Duncan vs Lawn Mower
We’ve been working on teaching Duncan the value of money, but actually motivating him to do things is pretty hit or miss. He likes washing the car, but since I do most of it he doesn’t get paid super well for it. While doing yard work a while back it crossed my mind that he’s probably big enough to start helping with that, so I proposed that next time if he wants he can have a crack at it.
How much to pay him though? This was weighing on me a bit - it’s not some bullshit job you can bludge through, we have a non-self-propelled push mower with a shitty Briggs and Stratton engine. It’s loud, it’s heavy (particularly when the grass is long) and if it’s dry enough to mow then it’s not exactly cool out before it’s Duncan’s bed time. After thinking about it for a bit, the main thoughts that stuck out in my head were: it’s not an easy job; it certainly doesn’t get any easier to do if you’re young (so no “junior rates” bullshit); it takes a bit under an hour to do; but I don’t want to go broke paying him to do it every time. So I came up with the round figure of $20AUD, which is basically rounded up to a round number slightly above what Australia’s minimum wage is right now. It takes a bit under an hour to do it, slightly less again if the front lawn doesn’t need mowing (it’s a species of grass that doesn’t grow as vigorously as the back yard and the two nature strips), but the flat rate is $20 regardless of time.
Considering his allowance is $5 a week, this is a pretty giant sum of money for him, but again it’s not a small job either. Another consideration: his hearing is still pretty great, and I’d like it to stay that way, so we had to duck in and buy him a set of ear-muffs, so we did that yesterday.
Anyway, today was that next time, and surprisingly he agreed to do it. He’s not quite big enough to pull the mower over to start it, and he managed to miss a few tiny strips but for the most part he did a great job. He certainly knew he’d worked at the end of it, but I’m pretty stoked and he’s more than earned the $20.
Edit: He’s done it again a couple of times, and one time he took $15 of his hard-earned money and gifted a friend a game on Steam. Holy shit, the kids are alright.