Teaching Children To Work without Complaining!!!

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A mother who is a Christian in describing how her children are encouraged to work said: "Today the five and seven year olds at our house picked peas. The ten year old gathered green beans, while the fourteen year old pushed the cultivator up and down the rows of our beautiful garden. We picked two golden squash, our first cucumber, and two dozen beets, then all had a part in the preparation, and in the enjoyment of the first meal from our garden. This is an ideal arrangement in which our family can work together." This mother had the right idea. In our crowded cities and with our economy of specialization, the family as a unit at work is seldom possible. Because of this, we as parents must manufacture tasks. We must find ways of giving our children the joy of accomplishment, of seeing the fruits of their own labors, and of gaining confidence in themselves.

The Jewish nation insisted that each child be taught a trade as well as a profession, to use his hands as well as his mind. Jesus said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" John 5:17. In following his perfect example we will all be at work. Paul told the Thessalonians, "if any would not work, neither should he eat" II Thessalonians 3:10. If we as parents apply this precept in the training of our children, we will see that they learn to work. The child who does not learn to work will never make a success in life.

We all recognize the desirability of training our children in the work habit, but the question is, "How can I?" First by example. The parent's attitude toward work will in a large part be the attitude of the child. Do I find every excuse for shirking my responsibility, whether it is working at home, or even a day's work at the church building? Let us first strive to do what our hands find to do with a song in our hearts, and the children will follow the example set for them.

But it is not always possible to find happiness in our work, as children or as adults. Some things just have to be done. The habit of seeing a job through to its completion is extremely valuable to a child. This is a real challenge to parents. Can I be patient and firm in seeing that he finishes a job, when it is so much easier to do it myself, and it takes half the time? We must, of course, plan tasks suitable to the child's level of maturity. Praise should be given only for a job completed and done well.

You have heard it said, "Don't do for a child what he can do for himself." Such simple tasks as picking up toys and dusting low furniture can be done by the very small child. As the child becomes older we might change this saying into, "Don't do for yourself what your child can do for you." The old lady who allows the boy scout to help her across the street is giving the boy much more than he gives her, for she gives him the feeling of being big and strong and of use in the world. The feeling of being needed, of being a necessary part of the activities of the home, and later of the community and of the church, will make for good citizenship. It will prepare your child for great service in the Kingdom.

Let us pray for guidance and strength, that our children may become worthy laborers in God's vineyard.

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