What are the skills you want your kids to have when leaving your home?
Change a tire. Be financially astute. Do laundry. The list goes on.
But what about a servant attitude? Is that a goal?
Part 1 of the Should Children Have Chores? podcast got us started. Now let’s dig deeper into the subject of raising children who desire to serve in Part 2.
▼ Jump to Listen to Podcast Episode #15: How to Raise Children Who Serve ▼
Raising Functional, Capable Adults
In Part 1…after establishing the biblical basis for work, Heidi and I dove headfirst into the reasons we taught our children to participate in the labor required to run a household. Specifically, we looked at toddlers and preschoolers and how to begin laying the foundation for work even at that young age. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that first episode or read the blogpost, please make sure you do!
In Part 2, we moved into the tween and teen years. What are the skills we want our kids to leave our home knowing? Cooking, meal-planning, finances, and car maintenance just to name a few. These skills are not just about lightening mom and dad’s load. They are about releasing from our home functional, capable adults! Bonus – think about how appreciative their future roommates and spouses will be!
Raising Joyful Servants
It is easy to get overwhelmed with the multitude of things to teach our kids. But in pealing back all of the layers is the reminder that this is our responsibility as parents.
“But it’s so much easier to do it myself!” you say.
I have had to set aside my selfishness for the good of my child. As a Christian mom, I’m constantly dying to self. In particular, helping my children do chores feels like wasting time. In reality, spending the time fulfills my purpose as a parent – to equip and train my children to love by serving God and others.
The pitfall to avoid here is that we don’t want to raise little soldiers. We are not building an army of people-pleasers or “yes” men and women. The heart issue is not strictly about obedience for the sake of pleasing man. Rather, a heart of obedience reflects a heart that loves the Lord and from the outpouring of that love, seeks to help others. Read Three Ways to Build a Work Ethic in Your Kids
This occurs when mom and dad model service. Are we serving our spouses, family, neighbors, etc with an attitude that reflects obligation or drudgery? Or are we taking care of these things with a joyful heart?
Additionally, are we modelling having eyes to see those who are in need? The guest in our home who needs a glass of water, or the elderly neighbor whose garden needs weeding.
When They Refuse to Serve
A common question we get is how to handle kiddos who just won’t get on board with chores.
One-liners are a great way to deal with negative attitudes. But when you have a defiant child, you may need to backtrack a bit and work on the heart issue of obedience first. Solid consequences will help in this situation too. But ultimately the child needs to know that you are firm on this, even if you are just beginning to teach an older child to participate in work. Be patient, unemotional and consistent. It will pay off!
For the child with any type of disability Heidi and I are in agreement that every child needs purpose! Chores provide responsibility for our kiddos and even if we need to co-labor with that child, don’t neglect to include them in the work that everyone in the family does. Every human being is valued and worthy in God’s kingdom!
Cover Everything with Grace
Lastly, we encourage you to remember grace! God’s grace is more than sufficient as you are teaching your children to work. The Holy Spirit is good to give us wisdom and discernment as we parent our children, so ask Him for that guidance. Every kid is different, and we can be wise parents to pay attention to those differences and parent them accordingly. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have standards or expectations, but it does mean that we are sensitive to the best way to teach individual kids.
We pray that this 2-part podcast and 3-part blog post has encouraged you to give your child the gift of work. Whether the child is 16 months or 16 years, it isn’t too late to begin. Have your 1-year-old pick up his toys. Have your 16-year-old do laundry. Train your 3-year-old to clear off the table. Train your 12-year-old to make a simple meal.
Follow this model: teach the skill, model the skill, guided practice with the skill, then independent practice of the skill.
And watch your child’s confidence soar!
An added point by Heidi…There is a belief that all teens are sassy and lazy. This is not true. Please do not believe this lie. There are 3 teens and 1 preteen in our home and they are fun kiddos to be around. And they know how to work. As I type, one is watering the garden, one is working at Chick Fil A, one is cleaning up the kitchen and one is doing laundry.
Nope, not perfect. But they are discovering the joy of serving. And the only difference between them and other teens is that they were taught how to work. It has been modeled for them. They have been trained in the process. Now, they are independently modeling the skill. And your child can do the same! You are not alone on your journey of raising children who serve.