Children and Chores: Teaching the Value of Work

What life skills do you expect your children to have by the time they leave your home? Cooking? Cleaning? Changing the oil in a car? Apparently colleges don’t expect much from their incoming students. At Purdue orientation a couple of years ago parents were told to make sure their children knew how to do their own laundry. (No kidding!) Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology even provides maids who “change school-provided linens, vacuum floors, clean bathrooms and take out bedroom trash.” According to USA Today, Rose is not the only school to do so. This was a real turn-off to my son, Andrew, when he visited Rose-Hulman as a prospective freshman, but apparently his is a minority position. "From my perspective it's an imperative part of residence life," said Pete Gustafson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "It's probably one of the top selling points among students living on campus here." Now whether this is because Rose doesn't believe the students capable of cleaning up after themselves, want to continue indulging privileged kids, or just know engineering students and want to protect their dormitories, I can’t say. But I don’t think it speaks well of our way too often spoiled young people.

A good place to start when mulling over what chores your children ought to do is to consider where you want them to end up before they leave your home, whether it is to go off to college, to spend time with missionaries in a distant land, or to begin their own family. Working backwards can help you keep the big picture in mind. But remember, you have eighteen or so years, so you don’t have to expect a six year old to do it all!

Here are the topics I hope to cover over the next several posts:

1. Benefits of teaching children to work in your household
2. Ages and stages from Apprentice (1-5) to Journeyman (6-12) to Master (ages 13+)
3. What children can and should  do at different ages
4. Different assignment ideas
5. Motivation
6. Boys vs. girls


SarahD said…
Yay! I look forward to reading more on this. Thanks again for taking the time to make these Titus 2 moments for us. You redeem the internet! :)
Anne said…
Sarah - Thanks! You are too sweet. Often I wonder why I keep blogging, but somehow it helps me to write things down, so I'm glad it helps you, too.

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