Somewhere between allowing our children to be spoiled Prima Donnas and forcing them to be slaving Cinderellas, are a billion methods for teaching and training children to do chores. While methods are outside the scope of this post, we all need some method. In times past, I have wavered between the guilt (helped along by well-meaning others) induced by "not allowing them to be children", and the reality that I cannot do it all-"someone" has to help.
As with other matters that I have pondered, going to the scriptures has cleared up my dilemma. The basic gist is that God thinks work is good enough to have given Adam & Eve work before the Fall. I encourage doing your own Bible study on work (amazingly enlightening and terribly convicting for this Mommy), but a very thorough Biblical discussion about children and chores can be found in the new Managers of Their Chores book.
The best practical article I have come across lately about children and work is from KSMilkmaid. It sure backs up what Mr. Visionary always tell me when I'm having a rough day with the boys: "When they are acting like dirtbags, you have to get them doing some hard work. Forget the vacuum-get a shovel in their hands." My experience has shown that it works every time.
The most timeless lesson I
have learned am learning about training my children in chores, has more to do with the Mommy than with the children. (Gulp.) Attitude matters. My attitude matters. As cliched and done-to-death as it is, the truth is: If Momma ain't happy, nobody is happy. Specifically, nobody wants to hear a nagging Momma. (Gulp again.)
So, when I mess it up in the attitude department by barking orders, griping about the time it is taking, or expecting too much with too little training (again), I apologize to the children, drag myself back to the Cross, and douse myself with the Word. It is good to receive mercy and a chance to start all over.
No matter how many times a day it happens to be.
This is the result of a smiley Momma working elbow-to-elbow with the children. Almost Pollyanna-ish isn't it?
This is what happens when Taskmaster Mommy barks out orders. This is the picture under "slavery" in Webster's. (Notice the Engineer's chain?)