When dinner finishes, the eight of us get up from the table, functioning like a well-oiled machine to complete dinner cleanup, which usually takes us ten minutes—1, 2, 3 fruit. When we arrive at a church for a conference, each person begins to accomplish their part of the set up process without needing instruction or prodding from Steve or me—1, 2, 3 fruit. When we recently spent time with friends and helped them paint their house, everyone worked hard to get the job done, even cutting down on sleep to complete the project in the available time—1, 2, 3 fruit. We think the basis for young adults who are willing and able to work came from consistent chore work in our home in their earlier years.
Steve has been writing a series of Dad’s Corners about some basics of being self-employed. We know many dads who have a dream of self-employment, especially something that will allow him to have more time with his family. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29). Did you know the fulfillment of a dream of self-employment for your children can begin right now in your home through a chore system?
Children who grow up on a diet of entertainment and self-indulgence will have more difficulty developing the self-discipline and initiative needed for self-employment and even in-the-home work projects than the child who has been given chore responsibility and taught to fulfill it. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). There are so many benefits of children doing chores in your home. We want to encourage you not to miss out on all that your children will gain from chore responsibility—1, 2, 3 fruit!
Summer provides the perfect opportunity for making or revising your children’s chore system. During the school year, you will need that well-oiled, efficient team working together to accomplish what should be done in your home each day—1, 2, 3 fruit. In order to make that a reality, I suggest you invest time during the summer working on your chore system and implementing the system if it is new or the revisions if you have already been using a chore system.
Without all the time of school and study that fills the typical school season, children are available for learning how to do chores. Mom has time to work with her children to show them what they are to do, when they are to do it, and how they are to do it. She will also be more available for the oversight needed to help the children perfect and polish their chore skills.
Many moms need help with the details that would go into a chore system from what chores to assign their children, to how to schedule the chores, to how to check chores, and what consequences to use if the chores aren’t done. That is why we wrote Managers of Their Chores.
We struggled with those details with our older children, but with prayer and experience, the Lord began showing us viable options for making a productive, effective chore system that we were able to share with others in Managers of Their Chores. We can see the results in our children’s lives (ages 16 to 36) of having benefitted from chore responsibility growing up—1, 2, 3 fruit. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Proverbs 12:24). If chores are a struggle in your home, we encourage you to get Manager of Their Chores and let it help you to success as it has for many others.
I know this part of the Mom’s Corner sounds like a sales pitch, and truly it is. The small amount of money you will invest in the tool of Managers of Their Chores and maybe ChoreWare is nothing compared to the harvest you will reap if you utilize the information it contains. We have seen this material transform countless homes and bring renewed joy, productivity, and contentment to nagging moms who were frustrated and at their wits’ end concerning their children and chores. We want to see you successful in this area, and we know Managers of Their Chores is a key to that success.
There are moms who will tell me they are weary fighting their children to get them to do chores. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). Perhaps I can give you some advice to help you get back onto the battlefield with determination and courage. “Be strong and of a good courage . . .” (Joshua 1:6).
First you need a solid chore system with assigned chores and scheduled time for those chores. Then you must have a determined mindset that you are going to work with your children to bring them to success in doing their chores. That means an investment of your time.
Start by doing the chore with your child for several days. Then have the child do the chore alone while you watch and coach. Finally release him to doing it on his own. We think the ChorePacks that come with Managers of Their Chores and the information in the book will facilitate this process for you. Each time your child does the chore, inspect it. Call your child back if it isn’t done properly. Have him redo it. I would encourage you that this is a valuable investment of your summer hours, and it will reap huge dividends in the coming months.
After your child has had his instruction and been independent doing his chore, with your daily inspection and suggestions, for a week or two, it is time to implement consequences if the job isn’t done or isn’t done right. Do you know what the simplest, natural consequence is? It is sitting on a chair, perhaps a dining room chair. Why doesn’t your child do the chore, or if he does it, why does he do it poorly? It is because he wants to go play and not be bothered with work. If he has to sit on a chair as a consequence, you have impacted the very reason he didn’t do his chore—his free time.
Sitting your child on the chair is an easy consequence for you to give, and used consistently it will motivate him to make the choice to do his chores well. When our children were little and needed consequences for not doing their chores, and we used chair sitting, I had a kitchen timer that I set for the designated amount of time. For younger children, it was only five or ten minutes. When the timer went off, they could go try doing what they were supposed to have done again, with hopefully better results.
I want to motivate you to spend time on your children’s chore system this summer. There are so many benefits for children when they have chore responsibility. Here are links to several other articles I have written on this topic: Holly Homemaker, Part 3, Holly Homemaker, Part 4, and Holly Homemaker, Part 5.
Our children are no longer children, and as adults with their own businesses, they have the huge advantage of enjoying work and being aware of its value in their lives. They work hard in their businesses because they learned to work as they grew up. How nice that I no longer have to remind them to do their work! That is just another example of 1, 2, 3 fruit. In case you’re interested, here is a link to our blog from last summer when we were helping Joseph remodel his house. You can see what all we can accomplish as we labor together, and we like doing it! I’m convinced that the work ethic we are encouraging you to adopt for your children, has been the major factor in three of our sons owning their houses debt-free.
As a family, we have discovered the delight of having a project in front of us, working together toward its completion, and then the satisfaction of reaching the goal. When we work, we learn new skills, we fellowship, we sweat, we laugh, and we accomplish so much in our home and in our ministry. It started with a view that chores were important for our children. We want to encourage you to have the perspective that chores are beneficial for your children and then experience as we have the blessing of 1, 2, 3 fruit!
This photo was taken several years ago when we put a sidewalk in from the front of the house to the shed we had just built.