altThe late Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything money will buy without a lick of character, but you can’t get any of the things money won’t buy – happiness, peace of mind, winning relationships, etc. without character.”

Raising children of good character is important to my husband and I. Work ethic is something we’ve been continuously instilling in each of them. We are having more success with some of our kids than others. We are all a work in progress.

This past year, our oldest daughter was part of a competitive dance team. We had not yet entered the foray of travel and competitive athletics with any of our children. We learned a lot. If you know anything about the world of competitive and travel sports of 2019, it can quickly become expensive. On a few occasions, her competitions took us out of town, staying at hotels and dining out. She is a teenager and has discovered she really likes to shop. Unfortunately, she is stuck with a mother who would rather take a whipping than go out shopping. Out of pure love for her, we did some shopping during a few of our out-of-town trips. I discovered she has some expensive tastes.

I recently read a meme that claimed having a daughter is like having a broke best friend who thinks you’re rich. I spit my coffee out when I read that. It’s funny and true. This summer I challenged both of our daughters to go through clothes and toys at home. They were supposed to clean out things they no longer used or needed. In exchange, I told them they could host a yard sale up at our office located on a busy Fayetteville highway. It took several doses of motivation but both soon realized they could keep the money they earned from selling unwanted items to purchase things they did want.

In our household and on the farm, everyone helps with some chores. That’s just part of being in a family. Nothing we ask them to do is inappropriate for their respective ages. However, there are some things that are more labor intensive and we give them some money for the extra effort they put in.

Last weekend was probably the hottest one so far this summer. This was the one weekend it worked out for the girls to host their yard sale. My husband and our boys brought some items up to the office as well. It quickly became a hot, sticky, sweaty family affair. Our friends even joined in the sale. The girls took a lot of care to organize and price items on tables and racks for customers to peruse.

We had a nice turnout on Friday, but Saturday was slow. We priced things to move and move they did. When it was over, we boxed the remaining clothes and other items up to donate to a local charity – Potter’s House in Fayetteville.

When you live in the country, having a yard sale isn’t always the easiest thing to get people out to. We were blessed to be able to host it in town. Our kids all got in on a taste of the life of a salesperson that weekend. They also saw some of the fruits of the labors turned into cold hard cash.

Our hope is that they learned some lessons about working for what they earn. We also hope the idea of spending and saving money wisely resonates. The biggest lesson they learned – one person’s junk is another one’s treasure, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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