The Farmer and I had our first Valentine’s Day just five months before we were married. The Farmer gave me a glass vase and a single silk, red rose. He told me that he would continue to do this each year and fill that vase. Each Valentine’s Day, I receive a card and a single, red rose from my Farmer. I have one for each year of our marriage, plus that first Valentine’s Day.
It is a tradition.
The boys get to see the vase filling and their Daddy bringing me the roses each year to do it. They are a part of that tradition because they observe how a man loves his wife, how he gives to her, how he creates a way that all will remember years past.
Traditions: traditions bind us together, make us feel connected and loved. They give us stories to pass along to others and to share with our own children. I wanted to have traditions that we pass along to our boys, as well. We started with watches.
When our boys can tell time, on a real clock with hands and not a digital, I give them a watch. It is a nice watch and it tells the time with numbers and hands. It is a symbol of their learning and their responsibility to take care of their new gift. Two of our four boys now have their watches and the third works on telling time on a regular basis, so that he can get his watch as well.
Next come the wallets. Our boys receive wallets when they begin working and making money. The three oldest boys received wallets this past Christmas as they had all begun to work and had money. The Farmer decided we would start Dave Ramsey’s Money Jr. This is a program where children have chores for which they earn payment. Our payment is .25 per chore. They have other chores they do for simply living in our home, but for the named chores, they will be paid. This system then has the child split the money into SAVE, GIVE, and finally SPEND envelopes. The boys work for items that they “saving” for with that envelope. They give the GIVE envelope’s contents to church or a need that they see. They can spend the money in the SPEND envelope or use it toward their item for which they are saving. This is a simple, though complex, system which teaches the boys to how to manage money. Since they are making, spending, and saving money, they earned their wallets.
The boys receive Bibles, good and sturdy King James Versions, when they are ready to take God’s Word into their minds on a regular basis. This year we are doing more study time, so the boys also received new Bibles with their names inscribed on the covers. God’s Word has to be in their hands before it can be put into their hearts regularly.
Finally, we will give the boys knives. A pocket knife is very useful for many things and will be given to each son when he shows himself responsible and useful to others outside our home. This could be when he gives time, shares his talents, or does some other good, without parental “prompting” in the future. None of our boys have knives of their own yet.
Each item is given with a little bit of pomp and praise to show the boys that they are growing up. They are changing and becoming men. They are being trusted with possessions, some of them more costly than others. They are learning to care for what they have. We are creating traditions and markers of their development. When they look back in future years, we hope they see that they have matured, changed, developed, and grown into fine and responsible men.
These traditions will be markers of those moments of growth.
What traditions are you creating with your boys? Do you have coming of age moments? Do you have coming into responsibility markers?
Enjoy your boys!