An Honest Update on Chores
I recently posted about how we manage chores with our big family (click here to read that article), but as I work on restoring the house after the summer break I felt like there were a few things I needed to add. I wrote this last week but haven’t had time to post it, so here it is; an honest update to my chore post.
Having kids help is not always helpful. Having the kids clean sometimes results in a bigger mess. I don’t want anyone out there thinking that my sweet wonderful helpful kids do all the cleaning in my house or that I have it easy. I really do think my approach is the harder approach. It would be much easier for me to do all the cleaning myself, but it would not yield the same fruit. The fruit I am looking for is not that of a clean house. I am looking to establish an attitude and a desire to help.
Yes my children as young as 18 months old help with dishes and laundry, but I certainly don’t criticize them for doing it wrong. That seems obvious in a child that young, but it might not be so obvious in a 6-year-old. You may be tempted to demand a level of finesse or perfection that they might honestly be capable of. But if you are focused on perfection and ability you will most likely lose sight of what matters in the long run, and that is the attitude. The attitude is always far more important than the task being done!
Who your child is becoming is more important than what they do today!
Physical capabilities to clean and attain perfection are honestly a given unless your child has a physical disability. This also happens to be one of my major criticisms of the current educational system. Children are going to learn and the speed with which they learn is not nearly as important as the attitude they have towards learning. A child with a high IQ but an unteachable attitude and lack of curiosity will ultimately learn less than a lower IQ child with a healthy curiosity and a good attitude. You cannot stop a child from learning if the desire is there.
Likewise, you cannot stop a child from becoming a helpful adult if they have a teachable heart and a desire to help.
I am sitting here on the floor of my laundry room as I write this. My 3-year-old was helping with the laundry when I heard the 11-month-old crying in her room next door. I went to get her out of her crib and change her diaper and in that time he loaded the washer with all the clean clothes that had just come out of the drier leaving the dirty hamper still full of dirty clothes. I walked in and he proudly proclaimed “I help look I did it!” At that moment I had a choice I could get irritated by the fact that clean laundry is getting cleaned again (my pet peeve) or praise him for his desire to help. I am not saying it was an easy choice I had to die to myself and my own desire to be caught up on laundry. I thanked him and gave him a huge high five and now I’m sitting here on the floor letting go of my need to have things perfect while he proudly crumples up towels in an attempt to fold them and the littlest one is flopping socks around.
Dying to yourself looks different than I thought it would when I first read these sentiments penned by the apostle Paul. It isn’t always grand and noble-looking. It doesn’t result in revival and mass baptisms on the river. Sometimes it is a quiet moment in a laundry room with a hope that your efforts will yield lasting fruit in growing hearts.