How my 10-year-old earned $100


This is my baby Laurel celebrating her 10th birthday with a real, genuine C-note. That’s right, one hundred fins. But she earned it! Wanna know how?

She read her Bible everyday.

Laurel read the entire New Testament and Proverbs in one year. She also read the Psalms twice.

We offer incentives to our girls to read their Bible everyday so that when they get older it will be an established pattern of behavior. We want them to hear what God says to them first thing in the morning.

But the main reason we want them to read everyday is…

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
   for they are ever with me.
 I have more insight than all my teachers,
   for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders,
   for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path
   so that I might obey your word.
 I have not departed from your laws,
   for you yourself have taught me.
 How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
   therefore I hate every wrong path.

We want her to know her Bible so that it will go well with her in life. We want her to know her Bible so that her behavior will be pleasing to God (and to her parents). We want her to know her Bible so that she will know God’s will.

It’s the best investment money can buy.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

P. S.: This was a bonus. For her birthday we gave her a rabbit, took her to Hometown Buffet, to the Go-Karts and then to see Puss N’ Boots!


See her demonstrate—as a 5-year-old—how to hand out Gospel tracts on an escalator by clicking here!

And read why she asked this question: “Daddy? Are you going to jail?” by clicking here!


  1. Praise the Lord, Steve. that’s great!!!!! You’re a good Dad.

  2. Wanted to stop by and wish Laurel happy belated birthday wishes…hope your day was wonderful! What are you going to do with that 100 bucks?

    I think it’s great to give our kids incentives to do and learn things that are good for them and the incentive here is getting the precious Word of God into her heart.

  3. Hi Steve,

    You might be surprised, but I am completely for people reading the Bible, although I would encourage them to read ALL of it, and not just the New Testament/Proverbs/Psalms.

    • EDIT: My oldest is reading the Old Testament FOR THE SECOND TIME and will be done in March. Laurel will start on her 11th bday.

    • Well, I’m with Nohm, but are you sure 11 is old enough? There’s a lot of “Mature audience only” stuff in there.

      But yeah, read the whole thing. And she should consider it as she reads, too.

      • Absolutely she should consider what she is reading. I help out with the difficult parts.

      • Really? What do you do about Ezekiel 23:20?

        Judges 19:25-28?

        Genesis 38:12-30?

        1 Samuel 18:23-27?

      • When it comes up, I’ll explain the context.

      • It sure seems funny that the atheists, who recognize no moral authority whatsoever (and have no grounds on which to elect one), protest that the Old Testament is “barbaric”.

      • Hi Glenn,

        Why do you think that a “moral authority” is required to label something as “barbaric”?

        I, personally, don’t see any such requirement.

      • Glenn,

        Can you tell me why having a moral “authority” is a necessity?

      • * yawn *

        “the atheists, who recognize no moral authority whatsoever (and have no grounds on which to elect one)”

        OK, Glenn. Let’s go over this one more time.

        As Jim said, we unchurched types simply don’t accept one of YOUR sources of moral authority.

        Now, if I may be so bold as to rephrase that parenthetical bit, you’re saying that there is no moral authority but (your) God? You have no internal moral compass, and if God didn’t tell you not to, you’d go out and start slaughtering passers-by, like some sort of inverse Son of Sam?


        I’m pretty sure that’s a textbook definition of psychopathic behavior. You may want to consider getting help.

      • Nameless,

        Let’s go over this again. You, an atheist, do not recognize a moral authority. Your only authority is yourself.

        However, YOU, as a human, have God’s Law written in your own conscience. You know it’s wrong to rape kids because the God you don’t believe in put it in you.

        It’s really quite simple. You cannot account for the very things that you know are true of your own person. God can. Please repent and stop this foolishness.

      • Hi Glenn,

        You, an atheist, do not recognize a moral authority.

        Well, I think it’s more correct to say “I don’t see why one is *necessary*”.

        As I asked you before (and still haven’t gotten a response), why do you think that a “moral authority” is required to label something as “barbaric”?

        Your only authority is yourself.

        No, not exactly. When I was a child, to one degree or another my mom was a moral authority.

        Atheists can have moral authorities. I just don’t see why one is required to label, as an adult, something as “barbaric”.

        However, YOU, as a human, have God’s Law written in your own conscience. You know it’s wrong to rape kids because the God you don’t believe in put it in you.

        This argument has several problems, but I understand that you believe this.

        It’s really quite simple. You cannot account for the very things that you know are true of your own person.

        Says who? You? Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot account for? Secular morality has been explained quite well on this blog, and therefore I am of the opinion that I can account for these things that you say I’m unable to.

  4. Oh, how I wish my parents would have required this of me.
    What a wonderful foundation!

    I want to commend your daughter on her accomplishment and also applaud you & your wife for ‘listening’ to the holy spirit’s urgings.

  5. Happy Belated Birthday Laurel!!! congrats on reaching your goal!

  6. What a neat idea. I will start doing the same thing with my kids!

    I have only been giving them money for learning Awana verses and for participating in the Bible Bee competition and learning those verses.

    My oldest, who is 13, is reading the Bible using the Grant Horner Reading System and is excited to know he now will be getting money when he finishes.

    My youngest is turning 8 next week and you have just showed me that I don’t have to wait until she is 12 ( that’s when I had my son start reading the entire Bible) for her to start. I will have her read the
    Gospels, Acts, Psalms and Proverbs.

    Thank you Steve

  7. Congratulations to Laurel and also D.D. on their dedication and accomplishments.

    I don’t think the majority of Christians have read Matthew to Revelation. Good idea to have your girls start with the New Testament first. I think a lot of people with good intentions start out in Genesis and get frustrated and quit before they get to Joshua.

    Taking a big task and breakig it down into little pieces, in this case reading everyday, is a great idea and helps to prevent feeling overwhelmed by a project, prevents procrastination and helps to keep someone on task and keep the momentum going.

    The incentive idea is pretty cool also. Some people force their children to take part in religious activities which sometimes creates a situation where the child doesn’t take any enjoyment in it or maybe even rebels against it.

    I think people of all ages like choices. Incentives seem like a good way to steer someone in a certain direction but leaving the choice up to them.

    You seem like a good dad Steve. Perhaps one day you can enlighten your readers on your own childhood and the effect it has had on your ideas about being a good father.

    • Thanks Bro10.

      The main reason I want to be a good father is so my kids will marry someone like me, and when they think of God, they will have positive ideas and thoughts about him. I want to imitate Him because He has been incredibly good to me.

      I would not know what it is to be a good father if it weren’t modeled for me by my Pastor Zac Nazarian, who has ben the mos influential person in my life.

      • Thanks for sharing that Steve. I have read bits and pieces of your testimony. I find it interesting how someone got from point A to point b.

    • I think they quit before they get to Leviticus! 🙂

      Good point though. I’ve often wondered how people can profess that the Bible is the Word of God, and yet it’s not important enough to read! I won’t go so far as to doubt someone’s salvation, but I often tell people that if they’re not reading their Bible regularly, they need to inspect their relationship with the Author.

  8. My 10 year old (who turns 11 on the 13th!) just signed up for the same challenge/reward! Hes been asking for a new ‘grown up’ Bible anyway, you gave us a great idea on how to kick off this new year old his life!

    Do you keep a schedule or check up on what she read? Do you have a family reading plan to keep everyone in the same zone or do they chose how much to read?

    Thanks!! 🙂

    • Yes! We all read the One Year Bible. My wife, Laurel, and myself read the ESV version; my 12-year-old reads NLT. The great thing about this Bible is that it gives you a daily reading of the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs.

      Let me know how it goes!

  9. Pingback: Bible Reading for Fun and Profit « Confessions of a Former Conservative

  10. Awesome job, Pastor Steve! You’ve given me a great idea for my two sons.

  11. That is a really great idea Pastor Steve! My children are 3 and 1 so this will be good in the future. Again really great idea thanks for sharing!!

  12. So now we have a dollar amount for exactly how much our host really values his instruction manual. It’s worth $100.

    Say, Steve, if I were to offer young Miss Sanchez $100 to read, say, a Terry Pratchett novel, would she accept that challenge? Naturally I’d require proof of accomplishment in the form of a book report, but she needn’t post it here, I’d be satisfied with an email.

    Let me know if you would go along with that.

    • Actually, the proof is in the behavior of my girl. She is the sweetest, most helpful and godly little kid. She even points out when I fall short in a loving respectful way. The bible is not something to be reported on as if once read, you’re through. No, it’s a manual for living and for loving God. Each time we read it, there are new things to learn about us and Him.

      I don’t know who Terry Pratchett is, but if it was age-appropriate, I’m sure Laurel would take you up on your generous offer. I know she would if the author was Terry Farley. Would you go for that?

  13. No, I offered Terry Pratchett and that’s what I meant. He’s in Wikipedia, you can look him up; then let me know if the challenge is on. But I will insist on that book report, delivered to my private email, or it’s no deal.

    • I did look him up. Not sure. I will ask her and consult with mom.

      Thanks Wee! (I’ll just bet this guy ain’t good for our worldview…)

      • “Our” worldview? Exactly who is taking this challenge? Is it young Miss Sanchez, or Miss Sanchez plus Daddy? I recommend letting young Miss Sanchez do her own reading and her own thinking. She will anyway, you know.

        As for Pratchett, reading just one of his novels is unlikely to have much effect on Miss Sanchez’ views as they currently stand. The effect will show itself when she starts wondering about what happens in the other novels. (There are about 30 in the series.)

        Or maybe not. After all, fiction is only fiction. And as I said, Miss Sanchez will make up her own mind, either sooner or later.

      • Well, he doesn’t share your worldview.

        My kids and I happen to love Pratchett. If you’ve ever seen my avatar over at SMRT and wondered why I have a little rodent dressed in a cowl, holding a small knife, it’s because it’s supposed to be Death of Rats, one of my favorite Pratchett characters. I highly recommend The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, but I don’t think you would care for it. It’s about rats that find themselves sentient and kind of the emergence of their ethics and morality. And there’s a book that some of them consider sacred, Mr. Bunnsy Has an Adventure.

        But you might like that the atheists in Pratchett’s world keep getting struck by lighting from the gods.

        Happy belated birthday to your daughter. She has a beautiful smile.

      • But you might like that the atheists in Pratchett’s world keep getting struck by lighting from the gods.

        Why in the world would i like that? That would be awful. I don’t wish any atheist any harm whatsoever. And you know that.

      • I can’t believe I have to say this. Steve, lighten up! It’s a joke! See, in Pratchett’s world, the gods actually exist. (And it’s slapstick lightening.)

      • The Pratchett novel I’d recommend to anyone (I put it down saying “The whole world should read this”) is Nation. It’s rather wonderful, though perhaps a little heavy for an eleven-year-old. Nation is a standalone book, not part of the Discworld series.

        For younger readers, there’s also two rather excellent trilogies which aren’t part of Discworld: The Bromiliad (The Nome Trilogy), Truckers, Diggers, and Wings; and the The Johnny Maxwell trilogy, Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Dead, and Johnny and the Bomb. Any of these are good reads for a child, though I’d recommend reading them in order, especially the Nome books.

        Of course, lightning has little effect on Dorfl. Ceramic atheists are immune.


      • Terry Pratchett, is, incidentally, an excellent human being as well as an excellent writer. His books are warm, witty, and humane. You can tell that he likes people. His characters have odd quirks and flaws. Some are quick-tempered. Some are occasionally selfish. But there’s a moral heart that shines through the books. You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Night Watch (not a good book to start on) is perhaps the most obvious place where we see Sam Vimes taking the moral line which is hard for him, but that same mood shows through in all his books.

        He’s also warm and approachable in real life. I’ve had breakfast with him once, and chatted to him a couple of times at Discworld conventions.


  14. Pingback: Paid to read the Bible

  15. Steve and Karen, I want you to adopt me. That’s the best birthday ever. A rabbit, lunch all you can eat, go karts and a movie, with Dad, Mom, and Dee Dee, what could top that but seeing Jesus.

  16. Good job Laurel….Hey you have blue glasses……I just got me a pair of blue glasses last Thursday.

  17. That’s an interesting way to get someone to read the Bible.
    Btw, I’m afraid I have to indulge my inner nit-picker.
    You said she earned 100 fins.
    Fin is slang for five dollars.
    “Fin” (also “finnif”) is from “finf,” Yiddish for “five.”
    Bucks, clams or simoleons would be more appropriate.

  18. Just checking – do we have a decision on whether my challenge is accepted?

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