I still remember the day I realized it was time for them to help me with more chores. I sat down with them and patiently showed them how to neatly fold each pair of pants. I had them practice smoothing the shirts before they carefully folded in the sleeves. Oh, my little folding prodigies had begun their training!!!!!
Or so I thought.
And since I was on a roll, I taught them to put away the dishes in the dishwasher. I showed them exactly where each dish should go. I had them wash their hands so they wouldn't fingerprint the clean dishes. I demonstrated how to nest the different sizes of mixing bowls. My life was going to be so much easier with my new helpers following my every word!!
Well, I recalled this training today as I watched my kidlets do their chores. All three were emptying the dishwasher. One child sneezed, wiped the booger from his nose and then proceeded to put away the clean silverware. Another child put the clean bowl on her head before she put it away--after it had already dropped on the floor. And another child tried to stuff as many glass casserole dishes as she could in top cupboard so they would avalanche on the next person who opened it.
Hmmm . . .
And then I observed them as they "folded" their clothes. Some items were done better than others. Pants got folded pretty nicely. But shirts were definitely more wrinkled after they were folded and then taken up and stuffed into their drawers.
And then I answered myself, because I really did know the answer: YES, it is. The price I am paying now for wrinkled shirts and fingerprinted dishes is totally worth the joy of having children who grow up knowing how to work and do their fair share. It'll be worth it when they know how to work hard in a career. Worth it when they can support their family. Worth it when they can clean their own house. Worth it when they teach their own children how to work.
Teaching children to work takes a whole lot of patience. It's not always perfect. But I have to let them learn to do it themselves.
AND yes, I realized after taking a closer look at their skills that we needed to do some more training. My job of teaching them is never done. I've already planned a CHORE TRAINING NIGHT, so we can go over some essential skills that have been forgotten.
But until they get better at it, I promise we'll eat off paper plates/utensils when you come to dinner at my house.
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