Walking the Choreline

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Posted by Walter B.

When I was a kid, there were two types of chores that I had to do. The ones I hated and the ones I could not wait to do. I remember doing chores as young as 7 or 8 years old, but the harder ones started when I was about 12. Most of the chores that my mother gave me had to do with cleaning inside the house. It was not my idea of fun, but I did like drying the dishes and cleaning the windows.It gave me a sense of satisfaction once the job was done.

I really liked mowing the lawn (especially with the riding mower) and many jobs involving yard work.Watering the lawn was also fun, because I would be able to get somebody wet every once in a while and I could play on the lush, green grass after it dried up a little. These were chores my Dad gave me and I took them seriously — as long as they didn’t interfere with watching my favorite sports teams play!

Today it can seem like a chore, at times, to assign, show and double check my kids every time they are given a new task.I always try to remember to find a way to thank and acknowledge them for the job they did.It meant a lot to me as a child when my parents were happy with my work — or at least my effort.

My older kids are now 15 and 12 and are very willing helpers when they get a chore they enjoy.They are not so excited to do the rest of the chores. Some things don’t change all that much from generation to generation. My 12-year-old son says “Just a minute, Dad.I just want to see this story on Sports Center…. Can’t I do that tomorrow?”I can still hear my father’s voice boom back through my mouth as I holler out, “No, son, didn’t you hear me?This needs to get done now, before it gets dark and you won’t have time to do it tomorrow.”

My 15-year-old daughter will just bat her eyes and say “Please, can’t I do this tomorrow?I will do something extra, too.” This weekend that amounted to an hour climbing one of our trees and dropping several bags of dead branches to the ground. Our younger children are 7 and the twins are now 5 and they love to help out.The real bonus comes when they don’t create a bigger mess than we asked them to clean up!Sometimes they actually fight over who gets to help on what job. It’s pretty funny and I enjoy their enthusiasm.

I really do appreciate their help, especially as they get older and they are able to do more things. I know I will miss their help years from now when they no longer live at home. Many chores were usually not my favorite thing to do as a child and my children probably feel the same way, but as a parent I realize how important chores are for a child’s self-esteem, helping your family and developing a strong work ethic.

How is your family at walking the choreline?What types of chores do your kids love or hate to do?

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