Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tell Me Again, Why Do We Make Them Do Chores?


Why should we have our kids help with chores around the house?

A. I need the help, I can’t do it all myself.
B. They aren’t doing anything worthwhile, they might as well help.
C. They should know how to make a bed, set a table, do their laundry, etc.
D. To help them grow up to be responsible adults.

kids doing chores

If you answered A or B, I think you might need to spend some time thinking about your motivations in raising your children. I’ll accept C as a partial answer. But D is what I’m looking for, something I wish I’d thought out more clearly when I was parenting young children. 

Some day I am going to put together a list of important things to tape to bathroom mirrors to read daily. One will say:


kids chores

As I said, I wish I’d “gotten” this earlier. 

When my kids were in school (as opposed to college) I remember sitting at parent teacher conferences listening to the teacher say, “They need to learn this to get ready for second grade...for middle school...for high school...for college.” 

You know what my mental response was? Just let him be a first grader...let her be a 10 year old...let him enjoy high school. 

I didn’t get it. 


kids doing chores

Back to chores: When we ask a toddler to help pick up his toys or teach a pre-schooler to pull the blankets up on her bed, or tutor a high schooler in how to separate laundry, we aren’t just saving ourselves work and giving them something constructive to do. We are teaching them how to live life.

I remember teaching my children to set the table. I remember my kids tossing placemats on the table, practically throwing plates and silverware on top, and running back to their play as fast as they could. I remember calling them back to straighten the silverware and put the napkins on and pour the milk and then help carry the food to the table. And I remember wondering if they would ever learn to do the whole job on their own.


kids doing chores

Fast forward a dozen years. When Daniel went to visit the people who he hoped would one day be his inlaws (and now are) his future mother-in-law wrote to me, “He was such a help and even took the sheets off his bed when he left and pulled the bedspread back up.” I’ve had others tell me about how my children are such polite guests, always offer to help, keep their things so neat at their homes.

Yes, at times I’ve wanted to answer, “Excuse me, are we talking about my children?”

My kids have shown me that they are growing up into responsible adults when I to talk to their boss and she says, “She’s a conscientious worker.” And when I hear them talk about a project they’ve taken on to make their home better. And when they say, they can’t ask for time off to go visit a niece or nephew because they are needed at work.

They are getting it. Life is made up of work and responsible adults work.

I'm not always an Ann Landers Fan, but she got it right, this time. The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

This is another way family meals are important: they provide an opportunity to help our children become responsible adults. The food needs to be bought and prepared. The table needs to be set. The dishes need to be cleared and washed and the kitchen needs to be cleaned.

How will you help your child grow up tonight?



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Coming Up in This Blog:
Be sure to be back to read these topics coming up!
March 8 -- Restaurant Style Chopped Salad
March 12 -- Couples Around the Table--Time Out for Mom and Dad


22 comments:

  1. Great post! true and wise words you've shared today. It's helpful to take a step back and consider the WHY in WHAT we are doing as we raise our children.
    That little ballerina scrambling eggs is a doll!
    (stopping by from Titus 2sday)

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    1. My granddaughter...Her daddy says you know that only a daddy would let her do that in her tutu! (I think her mommy would too.) Thanks for thinking through what I said, too. :-)

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  2. Great post! Stopping by from Titus 2 Tuesday

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  3. yes chores are very good for little one to learn resposabilities :-)

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  4. I agree completely although I do believe that they need basic life skills like making beds and putting up their clothes, not just to be a responsible adult, but also to learn neatness and order. I have little ones so this post resonates with me. Thanks for sharing and for encouraging me to NOT put off till tomorrow what needs to be done today!

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    1. Keri,
      You encouraged me to keep going, too!
      Glad I could inspire you to do *it* today.
      Sharon

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  5. Doing some activities and chores with your child is your bonding time with them. You'll create memories with that can't be bought by money. The time you spend together will be something they'll cherish until they grow old. And it will be something you'll treasure too.

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  6. Hello,
    This is a great post! I grew up with regular duties and "chores" and continue this with my own children. I know that it is helping them...and me! Thanks for sharing, Lori PS. Visiting from Friendship Friday

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    1. Thanks! Our parents had it right, didn't they!

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  7. I love this post a lot. I have always told my son, "I'm not raising a boy, I'm raising a future man. Somebody's husband. Somebody's father." I didn't want my son growing up thinking that life was one big "room service" where food just appeared and laundry just somehow got done.

    He isn't thrilled with every single chore. But he's 14, that's to be expected. But what I DO know is that when he leaves home, he will know how to do everything that it takes to run a household. And that has made him a better student and friend as well.

    Did I mention that I love this post? Nicely done! I found you on the MTM Mixer and will definitely be following your blog from now on. Stop by and visit sometime.

    Penny at Green Moms and Kids
    http://greenmomsandkids.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. I'm glad I made my kids do chores even though I didn't always have the understanding of the best goal.

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  8. I love this. Thank you for the reminder! I will say truthfully though that my answer is sometimes "A", but it's because I want my kids to know that we are a family and it makes us a team. We work together and help each other. We all have jobs to do and when we pitch in and help each other the work goes so much faster! Thanks for linking up at More than Mommies mixer this week!

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    1. I think we all have A and B at times, so long as we realized why we are ultimately doing it. Working together as a team is also a good goal. I can remember telling my kids that we are a family and we all work.

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  9. TOO TRUE! And it's just as important for us grandparents to help our grandkids learn these valuable lessons - even if it is usually easier to do it ourselves. Thanks for an important reminder!

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  10. Yes! And I think it speaks very highly of one's parenting skills when our children behave so well that we hardly recognize them! LOVE your pictures!

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  11. Nice, important post! It is amazing how what we teach our children comes back. Now, it's time to start teaching the grandchildren. Happy Sunday!

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  12. Great post. I think so often manner are forgetting and how important it is to teach and guide our children.

    Thanks for sharing your favorite post at Raising Imperfection! We feature our favorites on Friday, make sure to come back and check.
    Leslie

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  13. Great advice! One of the things I did with my kids was teach them to use the washer and dryer when they were in the 4th grade. Then I turned their laundry over to them. It was hard for my son to realize that his laundry wasn't going to get done unless he did it himself. I also put them in charge of getting themselves out of bed they were in middle school. I bought each of them an alarm clock and left it up to them. When they missed school because they didn't get up on time, I did not write them an excuse. It only happened twice before they got the message.

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  14. My parents definitely had the attitude that they were teaching us to be successful adults, but, I didn't know if I was successful at it until my son came home from college and, unasked, started clearing the dinner table. Yeah!!!

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  15. I taught my kids to take care of themselves and help me. I was a single mother for many many years and I wanted to make sure my kids would be responsible adults. I think it worked! They are very wonderful & responsible people now. I am so thankful for that!

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  16. Great post! It takes a lot more energy and time to teach a little one to do something and to keep following up on that learning. It would be so easy to just do it -- but the whole thing takes on a whole different meaning when you realize WHY we do that! Thanks so much for linking on busy Monday!

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