Growing up I remember having chores to do but what I don’t remember is when I started doing those chores. Whenever it was I’m pretty sure I’m starting earlier with my boys than I started. As a dad I’m taking advantage of the labor source I have before they learn the economic lessons of fair wages. I can say it’s to build that strong American work ethic, or some other noble reason but really it boils down to maximizing my resources. Even though we live in a small house there is still a good deal of work to do to keep it clean, or to return it to cleanliness after the hurricane twins blow through. Getting them involved in cleaning up teaches them a valuable lesson, helps me, and engages them while I finish up.
Learning to be helpful part of the community is something I want my boys to learn early and come back to often. There is a bunch of things that I have to do for them but there is a whole other category of things that they can do on their own or for others. Teaching them to think about other people when we are all such naturally selfish beings is a valuable lesson to come back to over and over again. Also introducing the idea of doing their share and seeing how quickly things get done when we all work together reinforces bigger picture of community versus those selfish tendencies.
Giving the boys tasks to do when cleaning the house makes one or two lesson things that I don’t have to do before Beautiful gets home. They can get their room picked up, or gather all the toys that have sprawled throughout the house like strip malls and suburbs radiating from the city. Sometimes we make a game of it and sometimes I just threaten to water board them if they don’t do it but either way they both provide some much needed help. While they are busy picking up all the toys I can get a bunch done with them out of the way. When they are busy cleaning they are no longer busy destroying and that alone is reason enough to give them chores.