Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creating a House with Built-In Character (of a different kind)

"So how do you do it all?" I get this question all the time. Truth is, I don't do it all. We all do. Above is a picture of our children's chore boards. Morning and evening, every day, the little people are busy at work. I've been promoted to manager and supervisor. A position that comes with great benefits (i.e. an orderly house).

I've included some old photos of when a few of our children were young. I snapped these as they were going about their chores. Note: the following photos contain backgrounds of different house interiors while in the process of renovating. Not pretty.

Above: Evelyn (as a preschooler) putting the plates away. We always keep them on a low shelf so that the little ones can have a useful job.

So when should children start chores? In our experience, if you start when the children are toddling around, they will learn that doing their share is a part of everyday life. They will never have known the alternative. We have found that little children love to help, and their only hindrance is us not letting them!

Above: Haley (as a preschooler) loading the dishwasher

The young child finds work more satisfying than play because it gives them a sense of self-worth and purpose. If taught slowly and deliberately by a patient teacher, they can accomplish a great deal more than we give them credit for.

Beyond the goal of independence, we want our children to learn that a quality life is about serving others.

And that it does not revolve themselves and their own interests.

Above: Gavin (age 4) making the morning's coffee and loving it!

Our family has benefited greatly by reading a book called "Managers of Their Chores" by Steve and Terri Maxwell. Our chore boards (in first picture above) were adapted from their book. It's excellent, and we highly recommend it.

"How can one family affect anything? One person battling away to put selfish interests aside, to put other people before herself or himself, even for a fraction of the time, day by day, how could that help? ... One family and the children of that family can do marvelous things to affect the world or devastating things to destroy it."
Edith Schaefer, What is a Family


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