The principal cause of boredom is the hatred of work. People are trained from childhood to hate it. Parents often feel guilty about making children do anything but the merest gestures toward work. Perhaps the children are required to make their beds and, in a feeble and half-hearted fashion, tidy up their rooms once a month or so. But take full responsibility to clear the table, load the dishwasher, scrub the pots, wipe the counters? How many have the courage to ask this of a ten year old? It would be too much to ask of many ten year olds because their parents have seriously asked nothing of them when they were two or three. Children quickly pick up parents' negative attitudes toward work and think of it as something most sedulously to be avoided. - Elisabeth Elliot, Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman, page 75
I think we've lost great, inspiring examples on how productive our children at any age can and should be. Some think that it's not fair to make a child of such young age have so much responsibility. They should be playing more. They are going to work their whole lives, they shouldn't have to do it when they're a child.
However our jobs as parents is to raise out children unto maturity. It's to build in them character and discipline both of which require a child to know how to do things that their flesh doesn't necessarily want to do. They need to know how to push through things that don't feel good, that are physically and emotionally hard, and they need to be able to conquer these things with a good attitude and a determined spirit. We are NOT doing our children any favor saving them from frustration or from hard work. We are NOT preparing them for life outside of our covering.
The Bible is most definitely not silent on the importance of hard work. Here are just a few scriptures expressing it's importance:
- Proverbs 20:4 "The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing."
- Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the any, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest..." Try studying ants with your children. It's an amazing study!
- Proverbs 13:4 "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."
- 1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover it is required in stewards that on be found faithful." We all want our children to be good stewards of what they own, whether it's the Barbies/cars they received of their birthday, the money they get at Christmas, or their finances as an adult. If they work for these things, they will respect them more and be good stewards.
- Colossians 3:22-23 "Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." You training your sons and daughters to be hard workers will prepare them for the work force.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he heart."
There are SO MANY MORE!! These are just a few of my favorites.
I am always looking for and trying desperately to glean from parents who's children have a fantastic work ethic. It's hard to come by, so I am going to give you an example of how we raise our children at each of their ages. They are very young, but they have all been doing chores around the house since they were 1-2 years old. I pray these examples inspire you and cause you to pray and seek the Lord about how He wants you to raise your children up into maturity in this area of their character.
Morning and Evening Routines
ALL MY CHILDREN have morning and evening chores they do on a daily basis (except on our sabbath they don't have to do morning chores unless we are planning on leaving somewhere- we try to do little to no work on this day). Even if we're staying home for the whole day. They all:
(1) Make their beds,
(2) Get dressed,
(3) Pick of their room,
(4) Brush their hair,
(5) Brush their teeth,
(6) Do their devotions.
Elias needs help with all these things still, but he's doing them every morning. Hayven still needs helps brushing her hair and sometimes her teeth. The twins can do everything completely independent.
(1) Pick Up Room
(2) Put Pajamas On
(3) Brush Teeth
(4) Devotions with Daddy
Ahavah and Alecia - 5 years old
- Clear Table - Bring Dishes to sink, put away condiments and leftovers
- Spray and Wipe Table
- Wipe off Chairs
- Sweep Floor
- Mop Floors (Mondays)
- Wash Dishes - Excluding pots, pans, large glass dishes ect.
- Clear and wipe counters
- Fold and put away one load of laundry a day
- Pick up floors and organize toys
- Chop Vegetables, make sandwiches, assist in kitchen work
- Carry items in from car
- Pack Bags when we leave for appointments
- Wipe down bathrooms
- Organize toys and bins
Hayven - 4 years old
- Clear Living Room Side Tables
- Dust Tables (Thursdays)
- Put Blankets in Living Room away
- Pick Up Floors
- Straighten Shoes in Entry Way
- Help Clear Dishes off Table
- Sweep dirt into Dust Pan
- Put Laundry in Drawer
- Wipe Bathroom Counter
- Wipe Toilet
- Carry items in from car
- Pack bags when leaving
- Set Table
- Organize drawers/toy bins
Elias - 2 year old
- Pick up and sort toys
- Pull Laundry out of dryer
- Throw Laundry baskets back into basement
- Pick up dirty clothes and play in basket
- Clear dishes off table
- Wipe spills of floor or table
- Retrieve Things asked for
- Put laundry away in drawer
- Carry items in from care
- Pack bags when leaving
- Set Table
As a family, we do a certain chore every day of the week in which I instruct the kid son how they can help
Monday- Floors, Floors, Floors: Sweep and Mop Kitchen, Dining Room, Entry Way as well as vacuum Living Room and Stair Cases
Tuesday - Tubs, Toilets, Towels: Clean bathroom top to bottom. Sweep, Mop, Wipe Down, Change Linens ect.
Wednesday - Bedrooms: Pull toys out from under bed/in closet. Organize Toys and clothes. Dust. Change Sheets. Vacuum.
Thursday - Dust, Plants, Office Day: Wash Windows, Dust Surfaces, Water Plants. Thee kids get more free time this day since I do my planning and research on the computer a lot this day. We also prepare for Friday by packing lunches, packing bags, laying milk bottles and reusable bags out as well as preparing a quick, filling breakfast for...
Friday - Grocery Shopping and Kitchen Day: This is our most laborious day by far. We do our grocery shopping (2-3 hours), then we prepare dinner for this night as well as our Sabbath Night, and breakfast for our Sabbath morning as well as Sunday morning. WE might start up a chicken or beef stock to simmer for a few days. We might cut up vegetables so they're easily thrown into a salad. We may shred cheese, make salad dressing or sauces, precook some meat to freeze, make snack packs for easy grabbing. I then fill a bucket of soapy water and the kids wipe down the fridge, stove, cupboards and drawers as well as hand scrub the floor. We clean all the appliances (coffee machine, toaster oven - we don't own a microwave). All in all the kitchen is clean and paper plates and silverware get pulled out since this night we being our...
Saturday - Sabbath: We REST! No chores. No dishes. Minimal Cooking. Our Sabbath runs from Friday night until Saturday night, so before bed Saturday night we prepare for Sunday by packing lunches (unless we go out to eat as a family, then we just pack snacks). We lay out clothes for the next day as well as what I need to lead worship.
Sunday - We try to have people over for dinner or go to someone's house this day. It's different from week to week. I may throw something in the crock pot in the morning if I know we're having someone over. Or ill throw together a salad to bring to someone's house. At the end of this day we do another "House Overview" and just pick up and wipe everything down so we're read for school and our cleaning routine again the following day.
So essentially our day looks like this:
Upon awakening, Morning Chores
Breakfast & Clean Up
Naptime (younger two) Audio books & Laundry (older two)
More School (CKC books, Phonics, Piano)
Dinner Prep - Some Free Play Time Here or I put on a kids exercise routine they can do while I am cooking if I don't need the older kids help in the kitchen and setting the table is already finished
Dinner & Clean Up
Free Play/ Other Planned Events
So you see, the kids have chores throughout the day. They hardly ever complain about being bored. When they do have free time, it's often hard to pull them away from playing contently in their room. We don't hardly turn on the television unless we're having Home Fellow Ship (in which case they watch Jelly Telly or Educational Shows), or I have an extremely long doctors appointment (in which case they watch a French Movie called Little Pim, or Super Books which are Bible Stories).
The weeks we stick to this and I am not out of the house too often, the more obedient, respectful, cheerful and a blessing my kids are when we're out shopping, or they are in church class Sunday and Thursday. The weeks we're diligent in this, they are such a blessing!
Over the years, I have found certain things help make this run so much smoother and certain things put a HUGE halt in our day. Two of the biggest things are (1) My Waking up Early. (2) My planning ahead and foreseeing what's coming. So in order for us to be able to raise our children to be diligent and have character, WE need to be diligent and have good character.
Just like how we are encouraged in Proverbs 31 on how to be a godly women, we read it and can take it two ways. (1) I'll never be like her... what's the point?!? or (2) What a woman! I want to be like that! How can I implement some of those things into my life?
I pray this post doesn't discourage you at all. I pray you're inspired to start slow and implement things in your family that work for you! Each family is called to different things and each family functions differently. I LOVE to surround myself with women who have had lots of kids and who have raised them to maturity and I love to hear all the things they did with their children and how they applied the scripture. I don't get "down" on myself, but I look at what I can improve on, then I pray about it, then I apply it. I don't NOT read Proverbs 31 because I fall so short it's not worth reading! I read it and work on one thing at a time. Over the years I see myself becoming more like that women that God desires me to be! I'm FAR from perfect, but I'm pressing toward perfection.
Praise the Lord we're working progresses.
Praise the Lord He is long-suffering.
Praise the Lord He has a plan for us each day.
Praise the Lord we live ONLY to please Him!