My neighbor was stalking me. I was walking back from our communal mailbox and I thought she was just positioning her Suburban to pick up her mail, but instead she was slowly following right behind me and I was oblivious, flipping thru the stack of mail in my hands and trying not to trip on anything as I did so. Then I heard her.
“Hey lady, I have been following you!” She was smiling and I apologized for unintentionally ignoring her. “I just wanted to thank you for being one of the only other parents who actually make their children do chores,” she said. She had driven by the previous Spring Break week when “shock of all shock!”; “crime of all crimes!”; we had our boys do yard work on Spring Break!
Now before some of you get on your soap box let me clarify–they did not work the whole week and they actually were paid for this particular job because of its magnitude, but this brings up a much larger issue: should children be required to chores? If so, why? If not, why not?
Let me share with you some of the reasons why we have our children do chores.
Five reasons for having children help with chores:
1. You cannot do it all forever, mom and dad. Sometimes we know we can do a faster, better job but then we complain about all we have to do and get stressed. No one wants to live with a martyr.
2. You do not want your children growing up incapable of caring for basic needs. Think long term goals here. Do you want your children living with you in their twenties and you are still doing their chores for them! Maybe your children will have the wealth to have most of the things done by other people, but what if they cannot? What if God calls them to a ministry where they need to do this themselves?
3. It gives children self-confidence. Praise them for a job well done. If it isn’t done so great, lovingly teach them how to do a better job. If they know how to do it correctly and are just being lazy, have them re-do the entire job or add one.
4. It helps them learn to appreciate other people’s work. Nothing reminds a child about removing dirty shoes more than having them clean the kitchen floor! You want them to grow up appreciate the labor of others, regardless of how basic the job is; especially if they are the ones employing the worker.
5. It teaches them that work is a basic tenet of life. The consequence of Adam’s sin was not work, but rather that he was frustrated in his work due to the weeds and thistles. Work is holy and should be done with a good attitude; as an offering to God, like the rest of our daily living. I fail to express this often, but it is true. My mother-in-law was great at this. Look for more about her in my May 10 post.
What do you think? Do you have your children do chores? Why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject?