Does Your Child Have Chores?
~ Joyce Fields
I first published this post on October 13, 2011.
Today, my 18-month-old granddaughter, Medina, has her first chore—picking up her toys. We walk around together, with me holding her toy bag. She picks them up and deposits them into the toy bag. You should see her looking around, trying to spot a toy! Hilarious!!
No way am I going to pick up and put her toys away! Pretty soon, she’ll be doing this by herself, holding her own toy bag and putting her toys in it.
I did the same thing with her father. As he got older, he got more chores.
When he was five years old (in 1975), his job was to sweep the kitchen floor. Then, I added taking out the trash in his room. Eventually, he was responsible for taking out the trash for the entire house.
When he was 10 years old, I taught him how to do his own washing and ironing.
At 12+, he was responsible for doing the dishes and vacuuming.
I taught him how to cook because I did not want him to be at the mercy of an angry female who wouldn’t fix him something to eat! (And, wow! He can cook!)
In summer, he mowed/watered the lawn (we had a corner house) and kept the shrubs manicured; in winter, he shoveled the snow.
You see, his father and I both worked from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. As I explained to him, doing what needed to be done around the house was the way he paid for his room and board, and the electricity and water he used.
“What about school and homework?” you might ask. He handled that extremely well and was a very good student. Graduated from high school at 16 years old. He entered Morehouse College at 17 years old. (Didn’t graduate; it was more our dream than his.)
When he started working, he paid us $20 out of every $100—off the top. We didn’t need the money, but he needed to pay it!
Today, I admire my own son. He is a fine human being, and he is the best thing that ever happened to me! I thank God continuously!
Because he turned out so well is the reason I wrote my 41-page book, “Mother’s Dozen: An Easy Recipe for Raising GREAT Kids!” I wanted other mothers (and fathers, too!) to read about my time-tested, old-fashioned approach and try it for themselves. Here are some of the reasons why I admire my son:
- He is always mannerable. He is very polite and respectful, especially with his elders. (When I try to tell him what to do [which is very rare], his response tickles me. He says, “Ma, I’m big.” He respectfully puts me in my place!)
- He loves to learn and experiments with new approaches in order to learn more.
- He is a responsible person and does not expect others to pay for his mistakes or wrong choices. He suffers negative consequences with dignity.
- He consciously lives his life with rules, order, and organization; thereby, minimizing tension, stress, anger, conflict, and confusion.
- He is independent and seldom borrows or asks for assistance.
- He is exceedingly spiritual, with a powerful belief in God. He regularly vocalizes his awareness of and thankfulness for his many blessings. (And he has tons of ‘em!)
- He enjoys giving and receiving hugs and kisses.
- He usually takes care of “must’s” before “should’s,” “need’s” before “want’s,” and “business” before “pleasure.”
- He demonstrates that he can effectively follow rules/instructions when appropriate.
- He is patient, seldom loses his temper, and uses time wisely.
- He has a truckload of family members and friends who love, admire, and respect him and often seek his opinion or point of view.
All of these qualities were developed from a foundation of having chores as a child!
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