My wife and I had 12 children over the course of 15 and a half years. Today, our oldest is 37 and our youngest is 22. I have always had a very prosperous job and enough money to give my kids almost anything. But my wife and I decided not to.
I will share with you the things that we did, but first let me tell you the results: All 12 of my children have college degrees (or are in school), and we as parents did not pay for it. Most have graduate degrees. Those who are married have wonderful spouses with the same ethics and college degrees, too. We have 18 grandchildren who are learning the same things that our kids learned—self respect, gratitude, and a desire to give back to society.
Here’s what we did right (we got plenty wrong, too, but that’s another list):
- Kids had to perform chores from age 3. A 3-year-old does not clean toilets very well but by the time he is 4, it’s a reasonably good job.
- They got allowances based on how they did the chores for the week.
- We had the children wash their own clothes by the time they turned 8. We assigned them a wash day.
- When they started reading, they had to make dinner by reading a recipe. They also had to learn to double a recipe.
- The boys and girls had to learn to sew.