1, 2, 3 Fruit

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 also want to suggest as you work on your chore system if you have Managers of Their Chores or are going to purchase it that you consider ChoreWare to help streamline the process. ChoreWare (only available to book owners) is an add-on to the Managers of Their Chores book that allows you to develop, print, and store your chore system on your computer. Some of you may have purchased Managers of Their Chores before ChoreWare was developed, but even at this point you could buy and begin using it. If you like using the computer, I think you would like ChoreWare. For those of you who already subscribed to ChoreWare, now is the time to renew it if it is expired so that you can get to work on your summer chore revisions. There is a 20% renewal discount so it is only $9.60 currently.

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.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 6

(This month’s MP3 version of the Dad’s Corner is available.)

If you haven’t read the previous parts to the series, you may do so here. Looking up the definition of “Good Ol’ Boy” in the dictionary would likely produce Dan’s photo. That isn’t his real name, but that’s what I’ll call him. He is seventy years old but looks and acts like he is sixty or even younger. He has gray hair, but he is so full of life and energy, you can’t believe he’s seventy.

Dan and his two employees work hard every day, but he quits at five o’clock. At that time don’t get between him and the door, or you will lose. Dan has a highly successful specialty parts and repair business, fifty rental houses owned free-n-clear, and over seven hundred acres of farmland. He is a great example of a hard working, highly successful, small business owner. Not only has his business provided very well for his family, but it also will be his children’s some day, building quite a financial legacy for them.

We all have the same opportunity that Ol’ Dan had when he first started – twenty-four hours in a day, no more, no less. Our most important, precious, and non-renewable resource is our time. If someone wants to do well in life, it’s critical that he learns how to manage his time wisely.

An important measure of the Christian man is the value he places on his time. When we value our time, we see each day as a new beginning with twenty-four hours to be used as the Lord directs. We are owned by the Lord Jesus. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As His property, all that we have and all that we are is His; and therefore, all of our time is His time.

In my corporate jobs, I noticed guys that were wasteful with their time at work. They’d visit with coworkers or surf the Internet when they should have been working. Then when it was time to leave, they weren’t finished with their work and would stay late to complete it. Maybe they felt it looked good for them to stay late hoping the boss would notice, but I figured the boss did notice. I was sure he noticed all the time they had wasted during the day and as a result weren’t really earning any points. Sadly, these men were in reality stealing precious time from their families. If an earthly boss notices how our time is spent, we can be sure that the Lord knows exactly how we are spending our time. Are we stealing time from our Lord?

Our priorities should determine how we spend our time. When priorities are properly managed, then we will spend our time on those things that are most important and consistent with God’s direction for our life. God is the One Who established twenty-four hours in a day. He is the One Who has an agenda for our time. He will never give us more to accomplish in a day then we have time for. If we have unwisely spent our time, then after we repent, we may have some catching up to do. Thankfully, He will then direct us on how to recover in a way that is consistent with godly priorities.

If we are frustrated over too little time, something is broken. Either we have had wrong priorities or not been self-disciplined in spending time according to our priorities. It is also possible that God has allowed trials to prove us, or He is chastening us. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). If you are struggling with time management, but don’t know what the cause is, I have found that prayer and even fasting will yield the answer. God is so good and desires to conform us to the image of Christ. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). He will show us things that are hindering the process if we ask Him.

Business owners generally feel they have more things that need to be done than they have time. There are only twenty-four hours in the bucket to draw from each day. If we waste time while doing one thing, there is less for another. Sure we can pay someone to do things we don’t have time for, but that adds to overhead and cuts down on profit. The best course is learning to be highly efficient with our time.
Most business owners I’ve talked to say their business could consume an endless amount of time if they let it. When you consider that Ol’ Dan is able to keep his three business ventures running with just two employees, it is amazing. On top of that, Dan is disciplined to go home at five each day. His family is more important to him than his business, and I believe that is why he still has his family. We would be wise if we prioritize our families over our businesses. There may be a brief “blip” when it is necessary to work longer hours, but we set ourselves up for failure and God’s discipline if we put business above our family.

Managing time wisely, as servants of the living God is a struggle for many. Our resource Redeeming the Time has proven to be a great help to men seeking to manage their time according to Scriptural priorities. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). Time is short, and it is our most precious resource. Once we spend a minute, it is gone forever. May we be wise stewards of the time God entrusts to us.