I felt called to stay home with my kids. This meant being a family of eight on one income and making a lot of sacrifices. Jer struggled at times, wishing he could give the kids more. I saw it a little differently, not that it wasn’t difficult at times.
Our kids learned a lot of good lessons, not having everything handed to them. They all became little entrepreneurs at an early age. It started with the power of bartering. They bartered over toys, trading regularly, but it really showed up when they found ways to make a little extra cash. The girls babysat, the boy mowed lawns, and so much more. Honestly, they all found ways to raise what they needed for a few extras and the understood the value of their time and money.
One of the boys raised enough to purchase a Nintendo. Now the bartering really moved into full swing. The kids would buy sugar cereal, writing their name on the box in permanent maker, something of a luxury in our home. They would barter a bowl of cereal for an hour of play time on the machine. I was okay with this and let them work it out, but when I found out they were bartering for their sibling to do their chores, that’s when I put my foot down. If you live in the house, you have a responsibility to help keep it clean.
Our kids went to summer camp. One year when Ike was about ten, he ran and claimed the coveted top bunk only to sell it to another camper for five dollars. This gave him money for the Candy Shack. While his young counselor was impressed, I wasn’t quite so happy.
They bartered for everything. Sometime I thought, “Can’t they just give it or do it for free?” Overall it was very good for them. They all saved for and bought their first car. They are all hard workers, something I've heard over and over from people who worked with them. I’m really proud of them. At times they get frustrated with some of their peers who expect to have things handed to them.
We may not have had a lot when the kids were young but we always had enough. God always provided. If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t change it. It was one of the most unexpected blessings in disguise that came out of the sacrifices we made. God knew what he was doing.