Young children LOVE to help. They want to mow the lawn, make the bed, wash dishes, feed the dog, water the plants, fold the clothes, cook dinner and maybe the most fun of all – wash the car! What kid doesn’t love anything that involves water! In their minds, there is no job too difficult.
When I can write my name on the coffee table, I tell my granddaughter it’s time to play Cinderella! I take the role of the wicked step mother and order her around the house in my wicked step mother voice. She’ll dust, sweep and push the vacuum ’til her arms can’t move. She doesn’t really see this as a chore… yet! (HA! High five to me for thinking up this one.)
Well, somewhere between 10 and 13 this all changes. I remember asking my 3 teen age sons to pull weeds on Saturday mornings. My husband would section off the yard and give them each their own space. I’d go check on them after about 15 minutes and see not one weed pulled. “Boys! What are you doing?” “Nothing…” they’d reply. “Well it looks like it – get busy!”
Twenty more minutes would go by and I’d look out the window. One of them would be laying down looking at the sky, one is tossing dirt clods and the other is picking petals off the daisies. “BOYS!!” Startled, they’d start picking at weed #1.
A little later, I’d hear “WOO HOO! SCORE!”
I’d look outside and they are now playing a game. They’ve taken the weed bucket, moved it down the hill, and gathered rocks from all over the yard. Together on the count of three, they’d toss their rock to see who could hit the bucket and score a basket first. Needless to say, weed pulling, fun at age five, is now a chore.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could ALL stay child-like and enjoy the everyday tasks that need to be done. Work doesn’t have to be a four letter word – just ask a child.