Trips taken with our Youth Ministry group require the participant (you may read the family here) pay one third the total cost, while the parish pays two thirds. It is suppose to give the participant a sense of ownership. They are invested in the event, and in theory, will take the experience more seriously.
In a similar vein, we started a similar program at home. Large niceties, and expenses, like a Varsity letter jacket, class ring, driver's ed., and car insurance are handled with the same split. With the hopes ownership would bring a sense of responsibility. Happily, the program has met with success. The jacket is a treasure. A lost ring wasn't chalked up to experience. Instead it was willingly searched for, by the bearer, in a garbage can, and found; thankfully.
But what happens when purchases are not appreciated? Last year, we had a youngster that was ruining, this mom's opinion, her jeans. Warnings were given, but not heeded. So the line was drawn, "Write on or rip the knees out of another pair of jeans, and you will be buying your clothes." Of course, the line was soon crossed, and now we have follow through.
A week ago, the complaint was registered that "My pants don't fit." I shrugged and said, "I'll take you shopping, with your own money and this 30% off coupon that came in the mail.
Horror crossed her face. "But I'm saving my money for ...."
And still the pants were not fitting. So, yesterday, just the two of us went shopping, she found some great jeans further on sale, and with the additional coupon she was able to buy three pair (for the price of one), a pair of leggings, and a new Mickey Mouse fleece snuggie.
Smiling, when we arrived home, she announced all her savings and willingly handed over the purchase price, that went on a credit card; a growth experience? Time will tell.