This summer, we were faced for the first time with more kids capable of mowing the lawn than we have lawns to mow. Last year, with Teleri and Aerin mowing the lawn, it was pretty easy to simply have them work out who wanted the front yard and who wanted the back. They had distinct preferences so things were pretty smooth. This year, we needed to add Rhys to the mix.
Facing this organizational headache, and the prospects of argument and recriminations, I was struck by inspiration (which is not, as Melissa claims, best described as “an episode”). How about establishing parameters that allow them to work it out themselves? So that's what I did and since it has worked out pretty well all summer, I share the results with you now.
|Dad's Capitalist Lawn-mowing Experiment (with Communist Back-stop) click the picture for a full-size image.|
The communist back-stop was needed because the kids aren't motivated that much by monetary concern. Doing work for free when they could get $5 for it, on the other hand...
I did find that it wouldn't work properly until I created a bid-sheet that they could use easily. For your edification, and in case you want to try something similar yourself, I provide it here for your very own use and adaptation.
I've just done an informal poll and the kids all seem to think that it has worked out well this summer (informal in that it wasn't anonymous or anything—just me asking them how they thought that it went). At least, they like it better than having me decide, or even mediate, who gets stuck mowing the lawn.
We had one or two times where I got multiple bids for a weekend, but for the most part they colluded to determine who would submit the winning (i.e. only) bid. I even had Aerin push for a larger budget one weekend after the lawn had been neglected the previous week with the added justification that I knew she would do a good job on it—do I even have to tell you how I responded to that one? (with pride I wouldn't dream of displaying except in acceding to the request, of course!)