2013-10-04 - Chores
Chores - no one likes to do them, right? I recently surveyed a few friends and a few teenagers. It seems the adults I asked all had chores to do as a teen, and all but one teen I asked had chores. He later admitted that he had to feed his cats, clean his room, and do a few other things - but somehow, those werent chores. Go figure?
Well I had started this because my son complained about the chores he had to do and said he didn't know anyone who had to do chores. I had to prove him wrong so that he wouldn't believe me to be an aspiring evil dictator. Now he knows I'm just an average dad and we're a somewhat normal family; I do use that term very loosely. However since I took Sunday School time to ask teens I felt a need to spiritualize it.
Why do parents make us do chores? Of course, there were a few comments about cruelty and laziness of the adults, but after the word responsibility came up, the group soon gave in that perhaps that might be it. And so it began.
When a baby is born, he has no responsibility. But the parents begin teaching skills like speech. (Side Note: If you're the dad teach the child to say Mom first, because that's the name you want to hear with a popular phrase of 2-5 year olds, which is "Wipe my butt!") They work on other skills like walking. At first, the parents will hold the baby up and just let him go through the motions of walking, but then the hands become fingers, and those become fingertips until, before you know it, the child is everywhere and into everything. The skills continue to be taught.
Once the child progresses through speech, word recognition, and walking, simple tasks are given to him. Maybe the toddler is asked to carry a cup of food to the dog bowl. As time passes, the simple tasks are done relatively mistake-free. If your child eats the dog food, is that a mistake, or just being tidy?
All of this progression teaches responsibility. Larger tasks are taught. One student told me that her mom gave her the chore of doing laundry without instruction first. After a soapy disaster, instructions accompanied the next load. I also thought I knew how to do laundry. I knew colors were separated, and so I had a load of whites, blues, reds, greens and more. After many dollars at the college Laundromat, I learned that all the separation wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, a load of whites was one of the ones I thought could be combined with others. When I came home from college, I asked my mom for instruction. Her leadership by example taught me to do laundry the correct way. One day, maybe I will share the story of when I first made sweet tea.
Those stories aside, most chores are accompanied with training. The training makes us more responsible. The ever-increasing responsibility prepares us for the time when we will become independent and attempt to function on our own in "the real world". We, as parents, teach a child how to let go, knowing that one day our teaching will allow him to take that last step out of our care and into their own. I have not yet been there, but the thought of it makes me happy and sad - proud and depressed.
And here comes that spiritual thing I promised. When a child of God is born, those that are older are to become fathers and mothers and help raise that person up. Sunday School stories turn to applications. Little tasks, like take this roll and put it outside the door, become bigger tasks. And one day, the spiritual child grows, and using the skills he has been mentored to have becomes a healthy "adult" in the church, and they begin raising kids of their own in the spiritual realm.
2 Timothy 2:2 (NASB)
Titus 2:1-8 (NASB)
Go. Have a kid or two spiritually. Go raise a few up rightly. If you have grown in Christ for a year, you can mentor someone who has only grown in Christ for a week.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted