Friday, October 12, 2007
Chores, Chores, Chores
Have you ever wondered if it is worth the effort to make your kids do chores? Have you ever wondered why you torture yourself trying to make your kids become responsible human beings? Have you ever wondered if you might just possibly be ruining your kid's lives forever if you make them do chores? Is it worth being "mean" and "bossy"? Is it worth the fatigue of saying the same things over and over? The answer: It feels horrible to to these things to your kids. The better answer: It is very worth it. I decided this on the day that I had a 14 year old girl come babysit my kids for a few hours while I went to class. This girl did not know how to do anything. She was unable to cook Mac-N-Cheese, bake a frozen Pizza, wash dishes afterwards, or any other thing that I might possibly have wanted her to do. So, Okay, she was 14. The minimun required was to fix somthing for the kids to eat and to supervise them for the evening and put them to bed. At least on the bed. Here's what she was good at: talking on the phone and watching Will and Grace. On that day, I decided my kids were going to be good for something besides talking on the phone and watching TV. On that day, I decided the kids would first learn to cook at least enough so they wouldn't starve to death! Now, they can peel veggies like an expert and even insist of slicing them up with a (gasp) knife. They can even peel an apple in nothing flat! Let's see, oh, yes, One of them can even make Mac-N-Cheese and egg-drop soup. The other is in the realm of making toast and now wants to fry eggs by himself. They both want to learn to knead bread dough and soon I may let them even mix up the dough. I have a rule in the house that if they want dinner, they have to help make it by prepping the veggies for whatever dish I'm making. I actually got the authority of the Bible behind me in that. I make them look it up and read it for themselves. 2 Thessalonians 3:10. If a man doesn't work, then he doesn't eat. Now, my son counts his chores in how much food he's earned! Hey if it works, go for it! At first they complained a lot. But now, they compete (most of the time) for who gets to do what. They are also responsible for setting the table. Teaching them how to do that was harder than getting them to help peel veggies! They still don't understand the proper way to set a table! Of course Dr. O doesn't either, so that doesn't help! They are also learning how to wash dishes by hand. It's not that easy! The hardest part of that is the fighting while they "work". (My poor dishes!) For some reason they always think the water is too hot! Mom, does that sound familiar? Mom's must have a higher heat tolerance than kids! They also regularly dust and vaccum. Now, my house sure isn't perfect or clean all the time, but it looks better than it used to when I did everything all by myself. And because they have chores to do, they don't have time for TV until the weekend. I have to say THANKS MOM FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO DO THESE THINGS, even though I disliked you every Saturday of my life (at least until chores where done!) Now, it seems to me that they are fighting less and less about chores than they used to. It's kind of become a habit and so it's not quite so hard to make them do the work. Good grief, they even fight over who GETS to clean the BATHROOM! Who woulda thunk? My son thinks he's big enough to do it alone and my daughter doesn't want to share! Whoa! I guess she's claimed that one as hers! So, am I "ruining" their lives by making them do chores? I don't think so. I think it is an important part of keeping them too busy to fight all the time! I even have a "misbehavior chore list" of all the things that we don't ever get to that I wish we did. So, when they misbehave we have scrubbing floors (on hands and knees), hand pulling weeds around the trees and clothesline, hauling rocks to a rock pit, raking leaves, emptying the compost bucket, and other icky stuff. I figure if they have time to misbehave, they don't have enough to do! I guess that makes me a "slave driver" and my kids tell me it's illegal to make your kids work all the time. BOO HOO! Too bad, so sad! But just look at how nice the house looks and the great food you get to eat. You help make it possible! Wow! Way to go kids!