Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Teaching Children to Work
Part 2

Work is Not Punishment

Though we can use extra chores as a consequence, we should be careful not to regularly treat work as a punishment. There are times at our home when attitudes are 'stinky', and one of my favorite consequences is for the offender to go turn the 'stinky' compost pile, or some other task that usually gets overlooked, such as wiping baseboards down. This way they are suffering some punishment and being productive. But overall work should not be viewed as a punshment.

If a job is not done up to par, according to what a child is capable of doing, then the consequence is to do it over...maybe a couple of times. This teaches attentiveness to details. The job needs to be done efficiently and with a good attitude. Remember attitude is more important than the task. If they are 'willing' then they are more likely to do a good job. It is a difficult balance between giving grace and expecting their best.

Rather than piling on a ton of extra work for a punishment, sometimes it is better to just use the rod of correction. Then work can be more of a productive event than a punishment. Here again, this takes a lot of discernment and we need to seek God for wisdom.

Remember our goal as parents is not to just get the job done, but to train our children how to work and WANT to work. If the chores are done, but we have a houseful of bitter and lazy children at heart, then we have not trained them to work from God’s perspective. For us parents this is not a one time training session. It usually takes about 16-18 years! Here again, THIS is OUR JOB, to train our children up in the way they should go. Remember that WE have to keep OUR attitudes, and OUR purpose in check!


Work is Productive

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men,
Colossians 3:23

Children need to know they are accomplishing a goal, a purpose. No one wants to work and feel like nothing important was done in the end. Life is usually made up those little task that no one knows about, that seem meaningless, but without these little task being done, the larger task could not be accomplished.

As children grow, be sure they know how to do all of the chores in the home. Boys need to know how to maintain a home, just as girls need to know how to get the yard work done and put oil in the car. Those boys will grow up and may be out on their own before God gives them a wife and they will need to know how to do laundry and cook. They will also be able to be a blessing to their wife if she is not able to do her duties in times of sickness and such. Girls need to know how to do basic home repairs and car maintenance. A woman may have an emergency and have to handle a situation until help comes. There may be financial times when she could be a real blessing to her husband and her family to be able to do her own repairs.

Children need praise, they usually want to please their parents. They need to know they are accomplishing something. They need to know they are part of a bigger picture. It is not just about having a clean floor; it is about working as a team, working to please the Lord with our lives and possessions. Praise is important, but be careful not to over emphasize undue praise because then real praise will be meaningless. Always point to Christ. There will be times when you will overlook the reward of praise, children need to know that they can do a job to the best of their ability and know that God sees and knows every little thing, even if no one else does. Teach them to seek to please God, not so much man. As adults, they should be faithful, even without praise of others.

Do not give them a task that is too burdensome for them. Sometimes it is hard to tell how much is expecting too much or not expecting enough. Seek God’s wisdom for that. Different children have different abilities at different ages. Becareful not to compare them with other children.

As parents, we sometimes feel like we are just spinning our wheels, saying the same thing over and over, day in, day out, but we need to remember our purpose, our goal. Parenting is some of the hardest work a person could ever do. Be diligent! Pray for wisdom and grace!!! Most of all, remember how often God has to tell us the same thing repeatedly!


Nurture God Given Talents

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17

It won’t take long and you will discover that your child has special abilities in certain areas. Nurture that! As they mature, find ways that they can use their God given talents/skills to work and serve others.

When our son was young, he LOVED to go to the thrift store and buy remote controlled cars, bring them home, take them apart and rebuild them. He spent hours and hours doing this. His Christmas and birthday gifts were tools to help him ‘play’ at what his interest was. He loves electronics and electrical challenges. When he was 17 he started apprenticing to be an electrician, in hopes of one day to be a “skilled craftsman”, as it says in Scripture. He will use this to do his life’s work, a part of his calling. THIS is education. He is quickly learning that being an electrician is not just wiring. There are a lot of other tasks that an electrician must do, and it is not always fun, but it is something that must be done to accomplish what he WANTS to do.

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen,
designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen,
and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29


Enjoy the Fruit of Your Labor

Reward does not always mean cash, but the satisfaction of a job well done, knowing they have done their best. Work is a good thing, even when it is hard. Reward in the form of gold star stickers (for the very young), cash or other material gain is good. It is good to receive and enjoy the fruit of their labors, this can be anything from a couple of extra hours playing with dad to getting a few extra dollars at the end of the week. But at the same time, children should not be ‘paid’ for everything they do this is unrealistic. Adults, especially moms and dads do LOTS of jobs with no pay or recognition, but we know it is to glorify our Lord. We know there is a bigger picture that God is drawing with our lives, children need to learn that too. It is good to receive and enjoy the fruit of their labors, this can anything from a couple of extra hours playing with dad to getting a few extra dollars at the end of the week.

What does the worker gain from his toil?
Ecclesiastes 3:9

From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
Proverbs 12:14

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
1 Thessalonians 4:11

Rest Children need to rest just as adults do.

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter,
nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
Exodus 20:10

And we pray this in order that you may live
a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Colossians 1:10


*Set an example with your attitude and diligence.
The old saying, ‘more is caught than taught’ is so true.

1 comment:

Spunky said...

Inspiring thoughts and many good reminders. Thanks for taking the time to write them down.