"In your dreams! I was sitting here first! Now be quiet. I’m trying to watch Princess Bella!"
"It's my turn and I wanna watch Super Bunny!" The little boy tried to wrest the television remote from her grip.
"Well go sit on the couch! You sat here the other night when Grandpa was here. You even got to sit on his knee!"
Scott came at her, his chubby fists flying. Cammie flung her red hair over her shoulder and stuck her chin out defiantly as she warded off her little brother's blows.
"You're just a big old meanie! And it's your fault we can't get a puppy!"
Cammie stared at him. "It is not! You're the one who won't pick up your toys!"
Now her fists were ready to return blows. But before she could take a swing, her mother appeared in the doorway.
“Cammie! Scott! What are you squabbling about now?”
“Never mind!” Mom’s hand shot up in the air like that of a police sergeant at a busy intersection. “I don’t want to know. I’m sick of the two of you and your constant bickering. No TV for you this morning.”
“Both of you, to the kitchen! Now!”
Moments later, Mom sat down and set two cups on the table. A blue one and a white one.
“This,” she said, indicating the blue one, “is a Thankful Cup.”
“A Thankful Cup?” Cammie’s curiosity was beginning to peek through her anger and frustration. “What’s a thankful cup? And what’s the other one?”
“First you answer a question for me,” Mom said. “What does God say about fighting and complaining?”
“He says not to do it,” Scott said in a low voice, his eyes on the floor.
“That’s right,” Mom said. “It does not please Him one bit, and there’s been an awful lot of it around here lately. Both your Dad and I are very unhappy with the way you two have been behaving. And when you are mad at each other, you aren’t happy either, are you?”
Both children shook their heads.
“Okay, that’s where the Thankful Cup comes in. Cammie, how much is your weekly allowance?”
“And Scott, how much is yours?”
“This many,” he said, holding up four fingers.
“That’s right,” Mom said. “And here’s what we’re going to do. Every Saturday I’m going to put your allowance for the next week, in the Thankful Cup. Ten dollars in quarters, and four dollars in dimes. All during that week, every time you fight or complain, Cammie, you are going to take a quarter out of the Thankful Cup and put it into the Penalty Cup.” Mom pointed to the white cup.
“What about me?” Scott asked, evidently not wanting to be left out.
“Every time you fight or complain, you will take a dime out of the Thankful Cup and put it in the Penalty Cup.”
Just to make sure he knew what she meant, she showed him a dime.
“And then,” she went on, “when Saturday comes around, I will give you what is left of your allowance.”
“But what if there’s nothing left?” Scott asked, his eyebrows wrinkling.
“Well then, you get no allowance that week. You will have a chance to catch yourself, though. If you apologize right away, then you get to take your coin back out of the Penalty Cup and put it back in the Thankful Cup. Oh, and there’s one more thing.”
Mom went to the cupboard and returned with a third cup—a pink one this time.
“What’s that one for?” Cammie rolled her eyes. Mom ignored the gesture and continued.
“Your dad and I will match whatever is left in the Thankful Cup each Saturday in this cup—the Puppy Cup. Now what do you think of that?”
Scott jumped off his chair and hopped up and down on the kitchen floor.
“Yay! A puppy!”
Even Cammie smiled. “Thank you, Mom! It’s the best idea ever!”
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” ~ Philippians 2:14 KJV
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Ephesians 5:20 KJV
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