Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day Fourteen: Work, As A Natural Part Of Your Day

My husband tosses chopped wood into the tractor bucket like they're twigs and my children imitate him. They form a line in our garage and he shows them again how to relay the precious fuel for our fireplace so he can stack it. As they pass it from one to the other, they begin to gripe and complain. I come out to help and I'm tired of the whining within one minute. My husband just looks at me with wide eyes and assures me he's already been dealing with this for some time. I join the line and the two of us adults speed things up and demonstrate how quickly, efficiently and quietly this job should be done. After awhile, somehow anger melts into giggles and we become a well-oiled machine and pack that wall to overflowing. 

The work around our home is never done. With six of us always present, there are dirty dishes, piles of laundry, filthy bathrooms and shoes strewn across the back hallway. Both my husband and I were required to do chores when we were young. I had a working mom and was left a long list of what needed to be done when I got home from school. We both see the benefit of work for our children. It creates responsibility, accountability, stewardship and keeps our home running smoothly. Did I say smoothly? If the above scenario happened daily, which it does, one would assume it's less than desirable to train children to work. You're exactly right! Sometimes we'd rather just do the job ourselves and save the effort and whining in our ears. But, as I mentioned in my post about reminding them how far they've come, their ability to work and attitude toward it will improve. I believe they'll even desire it, if they're trained well. Our goal is that work would become a natural part of their day and we will no longer have to consistently remind them of what hasn't been accomplished.
Each of our children completes chores from his/her chore cans every morning before school time. You can view my post on this here. Every few weeks, someone becomes tired of their job and we switch things around a little, but everyone knows what is expected of them. I began the training of chores when the kids were very small. Even two year olds can pass plastic dishes up to Mommy as she puts them away. Before you know it, they're standing nearly as tall as you and washing pots and pans in the sink!
Work becomes a joy and desire eventually.
My husband is so much better than I am when the children are dawdling with their chores. I tell him that they have been trained to know just what to do--with demos! But he always reminds me to inspect their work and see it through. He also gets right in there and works with the kids until completion. To be honest, there are days when I'd like to stay in bed and have my children to bring me tea while I read a good book. Work isn't my greatest desire as soon as I open my eyes so I have to understand when they have lazy days. I have to force myself at times, to be an example and get my work done alongside of them. It bolsters their energy as well as reminds them we all have a position in keeping our home running well. 
Praise is a huge motivator in our home. I have read much concerning praise in relation to chores. In their book, A Love That Multiplies, the Duggar parents, attempt to give ten praises for every correction. Since encouragement doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as correction, I must make every effort to seek out times when my children are working hard or simply being fun-loving, silly kiddos, not causing trouble. As long as they know that my approval of them is stronger than my momentary disapproval of their wrong actions, they'll feel loved in the middle of it all and, I suspect, more work will get done.


jeana said...

How true!! I remember having a long list every Saturday of chores to do by myself. My parents worked, so it was just me. The boys have their chores done before school. I love that after the whining and pushing through the laziness they (for the most part) get up and clean their rooms and bathroom, and know which days they do their laundry etc. hard work sure pays off. I do need to get better at praise over correction, love the Duggars and their books!

Anna said...

Gotta love chores!! I just finished bringing out all of the garbage with Jesse. Fun Fun!