23 February 2012

Sacrificing our children to idles

12 year old chopping wood he hauled from our friend's farm

We were talking recently, my neighbor and me about the division of labor in our households. Her boys were complaining because she gave them a list of chores. Then she said,  "I told them that your boys had to do chores everyday-and that quieted them down." We observed that the level of manual labor our households require is nothing compared with that of say a working farm. Sorting laundry, mowing lawns (even in our up hill one acre plot of land), taking out recycling, making beds, unloading dishes et.cetera pales in comparison to the level of responsibility some children shoulder in places like Uganda where they must carry water to and fro-if they are fortunate to have a well with clean drinking water.

I really have little- make that zero tolerance for complaining when it comes to work. My children know my adages and can finish them for me-mid sentence …"many hands make light work", "if you aren't part of the solution- you are part of the problem" and their favorite, "suck it up, cupcake!" They will probably be engraved on my tombstone, if I were going to have a tombstone, which I am not because I want to go down in flames Darth Vader style, but I digress.

Maintaining a home where everyone contributes is something I find spiritually important. I have heard many parents say, "It's just faster (and more efficient) if I do it myself." I completely understand. Since my boys unload the dishwasher, trying to find small things like measuring spoons and colanders becomes some kind of twisted game of hide and seek. And how many times have I had an article of clothing mishandled in the laundry? It is maddening. But you know what is even more maddening? Lazy children. And even more maddening than that? Incompetent men who do not help out around the house. I sure as hell do not want to fail my future daughters who will someday be married to these men in my care. 

Having our boys work around the house, I am reminded of the scripture that talks about "sacrificing our children to idles?" O, you say, it is "IDOLS"? I say they are one in the same. When video games take precedence over vacuuming and watching television over keeping their rooms tidy, we parents have sacrificed our children. Now hear me say this, video games and television have a place in our home, and we enjoy them (much to my delight and disdain), but those little mindless gadgets will never satisfy the soul like a little hard work. And children NEED to be needed. A 5 year old can maneuver a dish cloth and spray bottle. A 10 year old can become a genius window washer (or dog washer). The 8 year old can build his upper body strength by carrying heavy loads of recycling. And have you seen a 12 year old push mow a lawn that is on a steep incline? As well as tackle all of the laundry? The satisfaction of a job well done knows no age limit. Our children are fortunate. Whenever they need to cool off with a cold drink of clean drinking water all they have to do is turn on a faucet.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. At five and three the boys are old enough to help. Thanks to your gentle and loving rebuke they are now doing just that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the gentle rebuke and encouragement. Two little boys are doing more chores thanks to your beautiful way with words