Everyone Pitches In : Why Work Isn’t Bad for Your Kids

Last Saturday was beautiful. The weather was gorgeous, and we actually had a day at home. So, we took advantage of it all and planted our garden. We had prepared the ground earlier, but it still took about 2 hours to get everything in the ground. (Now if we can just keep it alive…)

everyone pitches in

You may have noticed the use of the word “we” in that opening paragraph. That “we” was not just Leah and me. It was all four of us. The kids pitched in at times, too, and helped us get several different kinds of veggies in the ground.

Now, some people read that and are considering calling the authorities on us. Yes, we made our kids use tools like a hoe or trowel. Yes, we made them help dig holes in the dirt. Yes, we made them place seeds or put plants in the holes. Yes, we made them help us water everything when we were done.

Were they great at it? Nope. Did they want to quit? Quite a few times. Did we get frustrated with them? Of course. But they worked, and we think it was good for them.

Some may ask, The kids work? Why would we do such a thing to our kids?

It’s because they are part of a family, and we refuse to allow them to not learn what it means to contribute to the overall success of our home.

Far too many children just get everything, and mom and dad spend every waking moment at the beck and call of their children. Meanwhile, the kids contribute nothing to the home.

Don’t believe me?

Check your family calendar. How many evenings and/or weekends are spent running your children from one of their activities to another, while you are exhausted from working to provide the fuel, registration fees, uniforms, meals, etc. for all these trips?

Open the closets in your bedrooms. While I do think kids need nice clothing (and modest clothing for sure!), how many of the clothes in their closet are there just because the kids “got tired” of what they had, so we bought them something else to appease them? Oh, and they didn’t pay a dime toward the purchase.

Take a little tour of the bedrooms, playroom, garage, and yard. It might be eye-opening to see the amount of “stuff” your children have that they don’t play with or use, and have never shown real gratitude for, even though they didn’t pay for it. And what are mom and dad doing? Often, they are already budgeting for the next toy.

In reality, having our children pitch in is helping to grow in gratitude and humility. We do not have to run a boot camp to help them in this area, but just giving a child whatever he/she wants certainly doesn’t help things. A few chores and other ways to help around the house instill the right kind of pride in their young heart.

So, look around your house. What have you just been doing instead of “letting” (making!) the kids help with? Make it age-appropriate, but challenge them. At the least, they can clean off the dinner table, straighten their room, and do other daily tasks like these.

Or…you can have a garden!

QUESTION: What are some tasks your children help with around the house that build character in their young lives? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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Photo credit: Oatsy40 on Creative Commons

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