Earlier this week, my ten year old daughter – Newt, spent two hours weeding and gardening. It was hot, sweaty work. She got callouses on her hands and a few pricker scratches on her arms.
After the garden work, she scrubbed algae from several watering dishes then fed and watered 60 chickens and one big pig.
I did not make her do any of this work. In fact, I didn’t even ask her to do it.
She did all of this for free.
She did all of this without grumbling.
On the way home, she thanked me for letting her work.
Every Tuesday afternoon, my daughter spends a couple of hours “interning” at a farm.
In addition to the chores listed above, she gets to muck out animals stalls (piglets and cows), gather eggs and one memorable afternoon she even got to help bathe a miniature horse.
This is all very hard work, but don’t tell her that – to her it’s play. Difficult at times, sure. But oh, so rewarding. When she grows up, she wants to have a farm of her own and a veterinary practice. She has always loved animals; she is learning that working hard at what you love is not drudgery.
I wish she felt the same way about cleaning her room.
I think learning to work hard is a core value.
Starting next Friday and running through the rest of the summer, I’m going to begin a weekly series about Family Work: the work that must happen in and around the home to keep things running smoothly. We’ll talk about what Family Work really is, why it’s important and how to get your family on board. I’ll offer some ideas on age appropriate chores, paying allowance, chore-charts and when work is really play. I’ll even do some link-ups to hear your fabulous stories and suggestions. And I’ll end each week’s post a homework assignment.
Let’s start that last one now.
This week’s homework assignment
- Spend some time thinking about the work that is (or is not) happening in your home. What is going well? What are your frustrations?
- Make a list of three things you would like to see change. (If you would like, feel free to post them on Frantically Simple’s facebook page and get a discussion going there.)
- Subscribe to my feed, so you don’t miss anything. Subscription options are in the top left sidebar.
- Like this post on facebook, tweet or blog about it, tell your next-door neighbor. The more people we have contributing to the conversation, the better.
- Grab a button for your website:
- Be sure to come back next Friday!