Nov 13, 2007

Teach Your Kids to Love Work

A lot of parents worry today about their lack of quality time with their children. This is especially true of single-parent households and families where both parents work.

In our desire to give our children the latest fashions or electronic gadgets, even the best, or at least most expensive, education from preschool to college, we sometimes sacrifice quality time for the bucks to buy them happiness.

In our longing for more family togetherness, we may harken back to the supposed good old days of family farms and living above the family-run store. In that bygone era, families spent virtually all their time together, except for the hours children were in school. Not only did that life provide adult/child companionship, but children learned how to work and understand its necessity for the group welfare.

My husband and I remember fondly the three years we spent trying to live self-sufficiently on a dirt farm in New Mexico with our two little girls. I still treasure the photos we have of them holding the rabbits we raised. Our younger daughter learned math by helping plant seedlings, multiplying the number in each row by the rows we needed in the garden.

Later, we worked together cutting and stacking firewood and tossing hay into feed troughs for the milk cows. But as much as we all loved that life, we learned how difficult it is to sustain even basic living standards in that economic anachronism. After three years, we had to move to the city where we all went our separate ways at eight o’clock every morning.

The days of the family farm are quickly dwindling. The number of farms peaked in 1935 at 6.8 million. Today farms number fewer than 2 million and less than 1% of the U. S. population claim farming as an occupation.

And very few families live over a shop where they earn their living as a team.

Is there no niche left anywhere in our society for families to do anything together other than watch TV?

Despite all our labor-saving devices, there’s still work to be done around the house. Just ask Mom.

Consider these options. Even with dishwashers, plates still need to be scraped and clean dishes stacked. Clothes coming out of the dryer need folding. Lawns have to be mowed and leaves raked. Flowers planted and watered. Most kids would love to be included in a building project like putting up a fence or dog house. A repair job, even if it’s just installing a new faucet, can fill them with pride.

I know, I know. Getting youngsters to do chores is often harder than doing it yourself. But that’s the point—doing it together. They hate working alone but perk up considerably when the whole family joins in.

My two granddaughters recently helped their mother paint the house. Equipped with music and snacks, it was like a party. And they learned a useful skill. Just like the good old days.
 

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

(1 Cor. 15:58)

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