Fellow blogger Michele Cheplic recently blogged about “Slave Labor.” Or should I say, kids doing chores. I had to chuckle when I read that her 7 year old daughter’s response to making her bed was, “What am I a slave?”
Chores are probably one of the least favorite things that any kid likes to do. And for some kids it only gets worse as they get older. Yes, my teens have tried to get out of doing chores but never could I imagine them doing what an 11-year-old German boy apparently did, by calling the police on his mother. As Michele shared in her blog, he complained of “forced labor.”
Sometimes I think that kids today have no idea what real work is. The days when kids had to get up before the sun to do chores is no longer a reality…although, I suspect the Amish culture still engages in this.
Thankfully my 17 year old son’s experience in the “Civil Air Patrol” taught him a strong work ethic. He learned respect for authority and yes, even to do chores. He was responsible for various duties such as sweeping, cleaning out garbage cans and even wiping down the dreaded bathroom.
Now whenever I ask him to do something, he does it without complaining. He does it almost immediately, too. In fact, his work ethic is so strong that recently a woman who works with him told my husband that he is very quiet at work but you never see him standing around doing nothing. He knows what is expected of him and works hard.
Sometimes I think I should have enrolled my youngest son in “Civil Air Patrol.” He is the king of trying to get out of chores. He will do anything he can to avoid them. And if he does do them, it’s as fast as possible (which means the job isn’t done right). It is a joke in our family that his famous words are, “Hold on.” That is what he says every single time we ask him to do something.
In fact, we laugh about it and say that when it’s his time to leave this earth and go to heaven, he is going to say to God, “Hold on.”
But seriously, it sometimes drives me nuts how he thinks that the chores he has to do are going to kill him. I mean, really…feeding the dogs? Dusting the furniture? Wiping down the kitchen appliances? I would like to see him work on a farm one day, to get a taste of real work.
Sadly, too many parents don’t require chores of their kids. I believe in the family taking care of the house together. Chores are not an option. This mom is not going to be the sole caretaker of the home we all share together.
And I also have to give credit to my husband who makes our children do extra things around the house that they don’t enjoy…mowing the lawn, spraying down the deck, washing our vehicles, cleaning out the garage.
I believe teaching these skills early on will help later in life. Chores are the pathway to a strong work ethic and the realization that nothing comes easy.
Do your teens have chores?
NIOSH – Nat Inst for Occupational Safety & Health on MorgueFile