Recently I posted a question on Facebook asking everyone what they were doing on that beautiful summer day. I was spending my day studying for an earth science test the next day. Surely everyone else was having more fun than me and I wanted to hear about it. One mom replied that she was teaching her kids household chores. As you can imagine her kids did not think cleaning was appropriate summer fun. Their pushback was that none of their friends do chores.
My facebook friend’s reply was the latest in a trend I see in this generation of school-age kids. They don’t do household chores. Many don’t even do their own chores—making their beds and picking up their rooms. Either their moms do it for them or the cleaning lady. Yes, even in middleclass families, the weekly cleaning lady cleans the child’s room. (I used to have three weekly cleaning ladies—Katie, Kelsey, and Kerry. Of course, I helped them!)
We are raising a generation that not only doesn’t know how to clean, but doesn’t have a sense of personal responsibility. I recently talked with a woman who works in a high school. She shared with me how many, many parents of high school students treat their kids as if they are in preschool by bringing them forgotten lunches, homework, and even snacks.
One teacher shared with me that her biggest obstacle in the classroom is not misbehaving children, but their helicopter parents. Parents complain when a child receives the posted consequence for misbehaving in class or not turning in their homework. The parents’ defense for not completed homework–the child did not have time to do homework, because they were at an extracurricular activity that evening. I’m not making this stuff up!
Moms, one of the best things we can do for our kids is raise them to become self-sufficient, responsible, hard-working adults. No, these are not our only goals for our kids, but they should be at the top of the list.
Like I said, I’m not making this up. Hard-work and personal responsibility were God’s ideas first. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 Paul reminded the church, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.” I’m not suggesting you starve your child. But as the mom, we are to teach our kids how to work and then give them chores to do to contribute to the family. It’s one way to teach them to be disciplined. It’s also a great way to teach kids the world does not revolve around them and break the entitlement attitude.
Teaching our kids to be personally responsible is another lifetime gift we give our kids. In Galatians 6:5 Paul instructs, “For each one shall bear his own load.” Here the word “load” means, “part of freight, a task or service.” In other words each person is to carry their share and do their part.
When we take on our kids’ responsibilities and don’t teach them how to work, we are crippling them for life. Who will clean their homes? How will they learn a good work ethic that will get them through college or help them on the job? Think the poor soul they marry! Oh, the arguments that will ensue in their marriage if your child won’t even pick up his/her laundry off the floor. Our kids won’t magically become mature adults when they turn eighteen. We must teach them throughout their growing up years.
We not only bless our kids by teaching them to work and be personally responsible, we are fulfilling our role as mom. It’s part of our job.
Summer is the perfect time to do this. Even little ones can be taught to be helpful. They don’t need to do their chores well, but they will be learning that in this family we all work together.
What do you think? How do you teach your kids to be responsible and work hard?
For more ideas on teaching your kids to be responsible and how to work check out Queen Mom: A Royal Plan for Restoring Order in Your Home.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.