What pulled me out of Chore Wars? I read an article on family work.
At first, I looked at the article and translated family chores as doing family work and patted myself on the back and thought, "we do family work."
Several months later, in our mother's book group, call "Side-Tracked Home Educators, " we were discussing home management books. We read Side-tracked Home Executives. I had used that in our previous home in Colorado to know what needed to be done when. So, I made work cards for my home and detailed each job and its frequency. I felt at peace when it was completed.
Then one night, one of the moms brought that Family Work article and recommended it to the group. I read it again. It rocked my world. I got it at a much deeper level. I began to see family work as work done "with" the children. I began to see its Biblical routes in Deuteronomy 6:7. I began to understand how it develops character and ingrains in children the habits and habitudes of work. I also came to understand that when I worked beside them there were many opportunities for teaching moments that were not possible when they were all assigned to clean independently. I began to morn the loss of those teaching moments. I was confused because the card system I had just created brought peace. So, I prayed, what do I use the cards for if I shift to family work. The answer was clear as a bell, use the cards to guide you to know what needs to be done.
I eventually came to understand that there is nothing in the Bible about assigning or expecting children to do lone, self-directed, independent chores, nor anything like unto it. Sure the Bible holds up work as an important principle, but not chores for children. The Bible also encourages "training up of a child in the way they should go." Expectations and chore charts are not training.
I came home, enthroned the principle of work and eliminated chores. In a dramatic event I tore up the chore charts and announced the death of chores in my home. In the decade and a half since, I have learned many blessings of family work and shared work in raising and rearing a family.
Parents who work with their children are setting the pattern of what grown ups should do. We stay the course until the task is done. We pay attention to detail. We know and how that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Our habits slowly become their habits. As we work and listen to our children, they feel valued and validated. This is nurturing work and nurturing the child. When they are young, we train them to work in the general cleaning and domestic work of mealtime rituals. As they grow in size and good work habits, around eight years old, we an begin taking children to help us in the bigger, deeper cleaning habits, patterns, and routines. by the time they are in their teens, they are well trained up in the discipline of the the habits of work, they know the nuances, they are confident and capable. It is now they are ready for dominion of tasks. Their hands well trained, their hearts trained, and their executive function developed. they may even step up at first timidly and then more confidently and regularly, to show they are grown up, can do grown up things and want to be treated as a grown up.
No one could pay me to go back to the factory model of assigning chores and holding little children to chore charts. As a matter of parenting and training children in the way they should go, family work and shared work is far more effective, rewarding, and pleasant. It builds relationships. It inculcates a solid work ethic.
How has family work and shared work benefited your family?