One day, I picked Jackson up from school and he was obsessing about owls. In his PreK class, they were on the letter O. The barn owl was his favorite and he rattled off info about their claws, what they ate and all kinds of other important characteristics these feathered friends had. Recently, at home, we’ve implemented ‘earning’ into our everydaily, meaning that in order to get a special toy, the kids had to earn it. Clearing plates, cleaning up messes, helping each other out, etc, paved the way to obtain the latest want.  He was certain stuffed animal owls was what he and his older sister really needed and it was decided that they would take the next several days to earn them.

On a friday, Amazon delivered and over the course of the next several days, the kids were expected to work for these snuggly stuffies. Well, that night, Jackson decided he wanted his, opened the box and took his owl to bed. On the weekends, these two share a bed or a room so of course, his sister knew he nabbed the owl and informed me of this little theft the next morning. Jackson and I had some words and we both agreed he did not earn the owl but he promised to be mindful of his little self and his pleases and thank-yous in order to keep his owl.  I offered Ella hers but she declined saying that she didn’t earn in. I smiled with pride and told her that she did.  The day before she gave up a party favor for Jackson and she is constantly surrendering a favorite something for her little sister who desires all Ella acquires.  In my eyes, she’s mindful, compassionate and always looking out for the younger two, so I convinced her to please accept her well deserved owl.

I explained to both of them that concept of earning can be found in so many ways.  Trust, respect, friendship, health, abilities….most everything in life has to be earned and that earning remains a constant thoughout one’s life. I suppose I re-learned this lesson, too. It’s so obvious to equate earning with material things but when I think about it, earning is a huge part of our human relationships and interactions as well. Cultivating friendships, managing marriages, solidifying relationships….all of these require thoughtful action to earn or create their success.  When you look around and see your happy family, achieve a specific goal, close a long-awaited deal or receive a nice complement or message from a friend, you’ve earned it and these non-tangible rewards, have the best kind of value.