Saturday is chore day. Thats the way it’s always been. When I was young we always devoted time to do chores each week. Growing up in a family of six kids there were always chores to be done. I remember my mother explaining, that if you are a part of a family you should be expected to contribute. So, every Saturday all of us kids would engaged in tasks around the house. The tasks changed sometimes depending on the needs of the household. My mom would decide what had to be done and delegate jobs to us kids. During the Summers I remember doing a lot of painting and weeding as my folks worked on the house and garden. I also have memories of splitting and stacking wood. Then there was the usual routine inside. For some reason, I remember being the one who always seemed to pull dusting detail, although my brother Brett may disagree as he also had time behind the can of Pledge. All of the chores us kids did each week was for the good of the family.
I’m thinking that a lot of you readers out there probably had a similar situation. It’s good for children to learn to pull together as a family. Working in the home teaches teamwork and the ability to contribute to the greater good of the household. One reason I think Saturday had an impact on me, was the fact that no family member ever received monetary compensation for working around the home. All of the labor was done to benefit the family and house.
This expectation from my parents created an environment in which us kids appreciated the house, and each other much more than if we had no expectation to contribute. The family even had better relationships as the work in the house made life better for all of us. Lets be honest... who doesn’t love a clean and organized home. So, I want my children to have this same environment that I had growing up.
This however, is easier said than done. I really appreciate how my parents were able to create the “Saturday program” and institute it in a family of six kids. I only have three children, and getting them motivated for chores can be difficult. I tend to be a routine guy. If I do something on a schedule every week, than I am more likely to keep going. So, I am using this method for chores.
Every week on Saturday, I spend time cleaning bathrooms with my daughter. This is a very important chore as I have two sons with questionable aim. For me this chore gets top priority. So my daughter and me have been getting into the groove cleaning. We have been doing this for quite some time now, and she is getting pretty good with the task. She is responsible for the toilets and bathtubs. Even though she is only seven years old, she has become skilled with the scrub brush and Comet. I love to see her thin arm holding the scrubber scouring the surfaces clean. She has developed a good work ethic which makes me proud. I have noticed that on many occasions my daughter is the one who reminds me that its time for us to clean. When this happens, I know that I am on the right track.
Now I have started a routine that someday, soon hopefully, my daughter will be able to do all by herself. Infact, she will be able to train her little brother on how to clean this area. All of this service is for the good of the house and its occupants. It’s like my mother said, “If you’re part of the family you should be expected to contribute.” No one gets paid for the service, but the payoff is great. My children have an opportunity to learn how to work for the family and respect the space in which they live. They inturn treat the house and all of their belongings much better. They understand that they are responsible for their belongings, and need to keep them put away. There are many important lessons that come from Saturday.
The trick is starting the routine. If you can do this, the hard part is over. All you have to do is keeping it moving. I look forward to getting my other two boys on the Saturday program. Its been great for my daughter and me. If anyone out there has a good ideas on how to start routines like this please tell.