Arkansas Baptist State Convention
I began working with my 14-year-old son several years ago to help me with the lawn outside during the summers.
He complained some initially: “None of my friends have to do this. It’s hot. Can I play with friends instead?” I would frequently say, “Work before play.”
I pressed forward as a father and trained him to the point where he took care of our entire lawn. Here are some principles for chores we’ve learned along the way.
Cultivate a biblical understanding of work. A couple key passages to share with your children are Genesis 2:15 and Proverbs 6:6-8. Help your children memorize these passages and reflect on them frequently when they work.
Help your children complete chores. Most children will need a parental example and supervision. Here’s a five-step process: (1) Parent does chore – child watches, (2) parent and child complete chore together, (3) child does chore – parent watches, (4) child does chore alone and (5) parent inspects child’s work.
Organize age-appropriate chores for your kids. Even toddlers can learn to do some chores. Gradually increase the chore responsibilities of children as they age so that they are completing many adult chores before they graduate high school and leave home.
Reward and affirm them for their good work. Look for opportunities to positively affirm your children when they complete a chore or an assignment in a timely and excellent fashion. Praising and rewarding children for completing tasks often solicits a more favorable response than does a critical comment.
Equip your children with a variety of different skills. Cross-train your children so that boys and girls all know how to do inside chores and outside chores. It will prepare them to become responsible hardworking young adults.
My son has consistently mowed several neighbors’ lawns this summer. Neighbors saw how well he took care of our lawn and began to pay him to mow theirs.
Work before play pays off!
Ben Phillips serves on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention evangelism and church health team.