Monday, April 26, 2010
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” –Eccles. 9:10
Contrary to popular opinion, work has never been a particularly popular enterprise for teenagers. Whether doing chores on the farm or in the home, most teens don't naturally like to work. But the value of work is definitely an important lesson learned as a child and cultivated during the teenage years.
One Sunday, as a 9th grader, I thought I had it all figured out. We had youth group at the church at 6:00pm. I didn't get home from a friends house till 5:30 and my dad had expected me to cut the grass before I went to youth group. I hurried into my room, changed into my “youth group clothes” (not sure what those were), and proceeded to announce to my dad that, “well, I’ll have to cut the grass later in the week ‘cause I need to leave for youth group.” I thought I had him. Surely he wouldn't let grass cutting interfere with my spiritual growth (truth was, we just sat around and ate hamburgers- not a lot of depth). He said, “Well, I guess you’ll have to be late because the grass needs cutting now. You have football every afternoon this week,” pointed out my dad. “But I’ll miss most of youth group,” I said. “Yep, but you made that choice,” he said. I couldn't believe it. I was not happy. Reluctantly, I finished the yard and hurried to youth group and ate a hamburger.
Truth is, my dad was right. I had made a choice to miss youth group. Not doing the chore was never the choice and my dad made sure I understood. I wasn’t happy with my dad, but the times he taught me lessons made me respect him even more.
Teach your child the value of work and chores early. Give them little projects to do around the house. Have them clean their room before they can watch cartoons. As they get older, increase their responsibility. Have them work in the yard and help with laundry. Don't expect them to be happy about it. Your role as parents is not to win a popularity contest (we’ll discuss that in a future article). Your role is to teach and mold.
In our work at Shelterwood, an important component of the experience is doing chores and working to keep the campus beautiful. The teens learn the value of using their hands and completing projects. Teach your teen to finish what they begin. Of course, the lessons go deeper than just chores. As they work hard and finish their chore, they learn to take responsibility for who they are.
Their future coaches and bosses may never call to thank you, but teaching your teen these values will help them be a responsible adult.
By Joseph Staples ©