6 Jun
2014
Posted in: parenting
By    Comments Off on Setting an Example for Work Ethic

Setting an Example for Work Ethic

I tend to cannonball right into summer. We’re active, often not at home, and free-spirited with our time.

Shortly after summer begins, I realize our home is being neglected. Yes, fun is needed. Of course memory making is important, but weeds also need pulled. Food needs bought and eventually we’ll run out of clean clothes if laundry isn’t washed and dried.

Using teamwork to bag leaves and twigs

Yesterday was a work day at our house, the first real one of the summer. There were groceries to buy and a ridiculous list of backyard projects to begin and hopefully complete. The backyard was resembling an overgrown junkyard for bikes and scooters. The relentless pounding of multiple feet has left our grass trampled to the point where only dirt remains in spots. When it rains, parts of the yard become muddy which might be the ultimate goal of my children: their very own mud pit. It had gotten to the point where my morning prayers included not letting my neighbors see our dismal backyard.

It was time to throw on work gloves and do something about the yard besides shaking my head and closing the blinds. I realized the downside of my cannonball attitude. In the 10 days we’ve been enjoying summer, my children apparently forgot what it means to actually work at a task.

They’ve had to do normal tasks around the house: picking up and putting away, dishes, cleaning bathrooms, etc. They haven’t been asked to work up a sweat and get dirty doing anything since the weather turned nice. I took 20 steps back in the parenting department retraining kiddos what it meant to listen to directions and follow those directions in a timely manner without being sidetracked.

Untangling a garden hose

I understand that handing a hose to children for the express purpose of cleaning the deck is just inviting them to spray each other and drag mud onto the deck making it dirtier rather than cleaner. Asking children to clean out their outdoor toy box while expecting them to not play with toys is akin to asking me to go to Dairy Queen and not eat ice cream.

We did also manage to buy groceries quickly, without incident, unlike the debacle last week. The trouble ensued at home after lunch. I’m all for making chores and work enjoyable, but that’s not always an option. We were working with a list of chores and a short amount of time. We needed to work for the sake of taking care of what is ours in order to move onto more enjoyable activities.

Sweeping the patio

I struggle with guilt after days like yesterday. I adore the role of memory maker and want to be that person each day, not the adult issuing directions like a boot camp sergeant. It’s difficult at times to see the work activities as essential as the fun in the raising of people. My kiddos will know how to drop everything and let tasks slide, to a point, and will know how to pause in the fun and get work done. At times it feels like a task of epic proportions to teach kids work ethic when it would be quicker and far easier to do it myself. I’ve learned to look for the small accomplishments when teaching large principles. Yesterday’s takeaways were the lack of complaining, which really should count as quite a large accomplishment, and a backyard that looks less like a junkyard.

 

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