As our children grow up, we give them increasingly more responsibilities around the house. In so doing we accomplish a number of things. 1) The children become accustomed to serving the family and it is soon natural for them to do so since they start so young. 2) When they are just learning a new chore the young ones follow the example of Mom or of an older sibling, helping them do it. This gives a structured time in which they can receive instruction as well as just enjoy one another. 3) As the child becomes proficient they can take over the chore, relieving Mom and enabling her to spend time on other pressing things. 4) Little by little the child learns to take responsibility for the things that are entrusted to them without being reminded and checked up on. The benefits of being able to take on a project and
We have found it very advantageous to incorporate all our children (boys and girls) into the running of our household. Dad and Mom have given their lives to serve and raise us children, the least we can do is to show our gratitude to them by helping out where we can. And not only are we helping them but we also personally benefit from learning at an early age that work is a part of life.
There is absolutely no reason that little ones can't begin doing chores soon after they learn to walk. To begin with, they start with their own personal needs as Hannah mentioned in 'Child Training', but as soon as they can take care of those things they are incorporated right into the familyís work in any way in which their capabilities permit. Working alongside others they can begin doing little portions of a job; like taking the napkins to the table. As they become better coordinated they can help set the table, gather the garbage from around the house, wash little dishes like cups and silverware, fold and put away flat laundry, sweep (with a shortened broom), and many other simple tasks. Little children love to do what the big people are doing so itís easy to incorporate them, especially if they are started early. Assigning specific chores to them that they must do on an
As we grow older we are gradually given greater responsibility and more difficult jobs. There are no real changes though in how we are trained. It is merely a continuation. As we are more capable we will be of greater assistance around the house. We will begin helping our older siblings and Mom as they make the meals, we will learn to wash floors, wash dishes, keep the cupboards tidy, take out garbage and dust. In the garden, too, our increasing abilities are put to work. Children are a part of our family, so they fit into all of our activity; indoors and out. Primarily, our approach to training is just to have the child work beside us, emulating our actions, asking questions and receiving instructions. Yes, it is easier to do a job by myself, but if I am really interested in their welfare I will take the time to teach them how to do it themselves. This really pays off, too. Once I have done a job a few times with a younger person, they multiply my time instead of slowing me down. Sure, the job wonít be done quite as good as I would like, but most things can be flexible. There will be dusting another day, the floor will be washed again, and, believe it or not, there will be more weeds tomorrow! Part of learning is failure. (That is why we donít have fragile things around our house to be dusted onto the floor.)
Training really starts paying back when the children have grown enough to recognize and accept the benefits of learning to work. It is difficult to teach responsibility and encourage initiative, but character like this is of far greater value than the skills themselves. As the children begin to see the benefits of applying themselves to their work, character results become more evident. Another thing we try to cultivate is initiative in problem solving. Instead of directly giving an answer to a question, we can show them how to find an answer. We can also ask them questions so that they learn how to find their own answers, how to improve their proficiency, how to fix a problem. I do not teach like this all the time, but I desire to improve Ė taking initiative personally to input into the lives of my brothers and sisters.
With age comes greater responsibility. We do not always stop doing the chores we did when we were younger, unless they are given to younger kids, but chores that require more coordination and skill are added to the ones we already know. These chores would necessarily require more time and dependability. At the age of about 9 we started learning chores such as dusting and vacuuming, helping to make the meals and cleaning up afterwards. As we come to the ages of 10 or 11 we do chores such as cleaning the bathrooms, doing the laundry, cleaning the appliances and in the winter time the boys shovel out our stairs and walkways. The chickens must be let out in the morning and put in every night, and in the winter hot water must be carried to them two or three times a day. The cats must be fed and watered, as must the dog, who also needs to be brushed. Whatever the task, whether it is cleaning the bathrooms or making dinner, remember, the work will go faster and be more pleasant if you are willing and cheerful. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Eccl. 9:10 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" Eph. 6:1
With 11 people living in our house 24x7, we feel that the cleaning that goes on, every day, in our house is not adequate to keep our house truly clean. Therefore every year we "spring clean" our house. This is a very large project. It takes us about one week to complete. Naturally one person (usually Mom or Hannah) is in charge of this project; they assign out each task and make sure everything gets done. Because of how many of us there are, we regularly have two or more different projects going on at once. Our Venetian Blinds come down, and are laid on the grass were we wash them by hand, one slat at a time. Then we rinse them, and leave them in the sun to dry.
Chores are an important part of our family. They build good character, personal discipline and a work ethic that are all important in the day to day routine of life. Our men are not exempt from helping to keep a tidy house and provide for the indoor needs of the family, including making meals. As brothers and sisters, and potential fathers and mothers, our lot is and will continue to be one of ongoing service and the more we learn to accept and expect opportunities to serve, the happier and smoother our lives and familyís lives will be. It takes every oneís combined and willing effort to make life in a family of any size run smoothly and peacefully.
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