I am by nature a lazy person. I would much rather do nothing than do something. However, I recognize that laziness isn't helpful. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem sitting and reading. Or taking a nap. But if I were doing only those things all the time (which sound really tempting), it wouldn't work. Dinner needs be cooked, groceries bought, lesson plans made, appointments kept, etc. And I do like a certain amount of keeping busy. I just appreciate more down time than some of the busy bees of the world.
I don't know that I would have been good at teaching my children to work otherwise, but the circumstances of our life have made it so much of the housework and yardwork falls on my shoulders along with all the other daily and parenting responsibilities. And I can't do it all.
Over the years my kids have taken on more chores around the house. Jobs are not perfectly done. Sometimes children need to be called back several times to do a complete job, but they understand that if they don't get their jobs done, our household runs less smoothly. There is less time for fun.
This spring we told our children that we were going to take our mostly annual trip west, but that they would be responsible for helping to pay for it. We put each kid in charge of a different category: hotels, food, and gas money. Then we calculated what it would cost and came up with a list of jobs that needed to be done inside and outside and assigned dollar amounts to them. So, yes we're still paying for all of vacation, but our kids have literally EARNED it. Here are some things they've done this summer:
|Caleb chopped down the bushes that used to be here, Benjamin built the box to frame the garden in, and Nathaniel helped put down mulch and plant some flowers.|
|The garden box in the picture above is where that mess off to the right in this picture used to be.|
|This was just one coat, but Caleb stained and sealed our pretty Adirondack chairs to protect them from the elements.|
|This sad looking deck has needed to be taken down for some time. All three boys and I worked on taking it apart using nothing but hand tools, then we power washed the concrete patio that was hiding underneath.|