Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why My Kids Do Chores

A great friend and mentor recently sent me some files & curriculum suggestions for home schooling and one of them got me thinking about stress. No, not stressed at the idea of home school but at the amount of stress I see and hear parents are under nowadays. One of the files she sent me was "Adult Skills Classes"  and it listed menu planning, cleaning, grocery shopping, household maintenance and others in the courses. This is all stuff that adds to our already stressful lives. Work, meetings, doctor's appointments, event planning (birthdays for children/relatives, vacations, travel, etc...)chores, errands, shopping, sports, music lessons, dance, taking care of pets & animals, church, social engagements...all of life's events are stressful and most of the time it's the parents who are running around like a chicken with their head cut-off trying to get everything done for everybody in their family. The kids just sit around and expect to be chauffeured around to their next adventure.

But, what got me thinking about this was reading over the first class in her "Adult Skills Classes" which was grocery shopping. I was reading the description and the final exam portion was: Complete a shopping trip: prepare the shopping list, do all the shopping, including paying (since they are young the parent of course pays but they go through the transaction), loading groceries in the car, carry the groceries into the house and putting all the food away and bags. Now, I'm not sure if it's just because I've done it so much and it's second nature now, but I didn't really realize just how many steps it actually was! And, how tiring it all can be! And, how stressful it all can be! Do you remember the first time you ever bought something? Did you get all nervous about going up to the cashier to pay? Or, learning how to write a check? That was nerve wracking! I think I messed up two or three trying to figure out how to write out the money and put all the information in the correct fields. Anyone else?? Am I the only one?? I can't be. But, teaching our kids the amount of work that goes into getting their favorite bowl full of cereal on the table is important and shows them that it's hard, but good, work!

My Anna is still really young, almost 5, so she is still a little too young for this course but it's the little things that will lead up to this. Carrying your plate to the sink, dusting, picking up your toys, making your bed, helping put away clothes. All those little things so they can get to do the bigger things. 

Parents nowadays are so stressed and I think it's because long gone are the days when the kids woke up and actually helped around the house. Now, it's more important that your 3 year old knows how to read a book than to clean off the table. I don't want to come off as rude or anything but, come on! Who cares if your child does 60 math worksheets a day? Going into their first job interview, they aren't going to be asked, "Did you start color recognition and number recognition worksheets at the age of 3? Because that's a deal breaker if you didn't!" Yes, all of that builds on each other and our children get smarter from that but what about raising our children to take care of what they are given? Take care of the family home. Take care of what belongs to them...And, we know that a monkey can be taught the ABC's. Einstein didn't learn from flash cards; he learned by exploring, by doing. I'm not talking about child labor here and waking my children up at 6:00 am to scrub the floors but I am also not saying that they are going to magically pick up these skills just by watching me give and do for them. I want to stop the stress and the mess and take the time to teach my girls to take care of what God has given to us.

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