May 2, 2011

Breaking child labor laws and being ok with it.

I have a insanely large extended family. And thanks to my brother and sister it's still growing! My brother and his fiance, and my sister and her fiance. Not my brother and sister. Phew! That was a close one,.  I like to send at least a card for birthdays and anniversary's and other important life events. In May there are 9 birthdays or anniversary's that I want to acknowledge. I'm not even talking great aunts, or 3rd cousins or old neighbors. Just 2 of my sisters, 1 niece, 1 nephew, Mother's Day, my in-laws anniversary, my mil's birthday. Is that 9? I may be forgetting somebody.

My husband recently changed positions at work which resulted in a hefty hefty hefty pay cut. It was his choice and a good one for our family but the new paycheck numbers are taking some... getting used to. We're not destitute in any way, just trying really hard to re-think our priorities and needs vs. wants.  I used to live off less than $12K/year so I know how to get creative and stretch a buck.

We also live The Dave Ramsey lifestyle which means we make a budget for each and every month which accounts for each and every cent dollar that comes in and goes out. We don't use credit cards and we save up and pay cash for things we want. We also follow the 7 baby steps- wait, nevermind- I'm saving all this for another post. Back to my awesome story about child labor.

In an attempt to quit spending so much on greeting cards but still being able to send something so my friends and family know I am thinking about them, I've begun asking my 11 year old to draw pictures I can use as cards. He is a gifted artist. He has drawn so many amazing pictures, sometimes if I didn't watch him draw them I would accuse him of tracing or copying.

I thought this was a brilliant idea because:

1. He really is that good. When he's famous, these cards will be really valuable.

2.  He is always drawing anyway. Why not doodle on this piece of paper that I've folded to conveniently fit in a regular stamp sized envelope?

3. It's a lesson on being thrifty combined with a lesson on thinking of others.

Totally a win-win.

At first he was very excited and put lots of effort into making each card special for the intended recipient. Apparently his talent is something he can turn on and off because tonight I asked if he would mind drawing a "few" more for this month. He grudgingly agreed and then proceeded to draw a picture that a blind-folded, drunk, handcuffed chimpanzee (or me) could have drawn. I think my son is trying to tell me he's done churning out cards for me!  I even offered to do his dish chore tonight in exchange for just one more card. He started whining and complaining, then made up some excuse that his hand was cramping. Today's youth, they just don't have a good work ethic.

What do you think?
Give him more food and water breaks?
Just scan some of his old work?  Is that a copyright issue?
Offer to pay him for his services?
A recent example of his work:

Seriously. It's not just because I'm his Mama. He's gifted.

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