I’ve been thinking about something for a few days now.
Wednesday night Brent and I spoke to our church’s family ministry about money and stewardship. We talked about assigning children jobs—just regular unpaid because-your-part-of-the-family chores. We also talked about jobs-for-pay; these are any other jobs that are above and beyond the expected assigned tasks. We pay our kids to do these things. We figure that they need to have money to learn how to use money.
We explained that it takes time to train children to work well and work hard. It also takes time to inspect the children’s work to make sure expected standards are met. We gave the example of lawn mowing. At the Haverkamp house, lawn mowing is a job-for-pay. And it is a big job—since we have a big lawn--about 5 hours of time if done well. Then, there is the clean up afterward and the time for parent inspection. All in all, this task can take almost an entire summer day.
Now here’s what made me sad: One concerned father approached us after class and said,
“You know, I like what you said about training your kids to work and all, and I would love for my kids to learn that, but between our jobs, and all of the kids’ practices and activities, we never have a five hour chunk of time. How can I teach them faster?”
And Brent’s wise answer to this sincere father of three was,
“You can’t. Training takes time.”
I find it sad that many of today’s families are so busy that their kids aren’t learning to work. Not only that, but those same kids don’t know how to play either. I don’t mean organized sports and planned activities, I just mean laying in the grass and seeing shapes in the clouds; playing cops and robbers on bicycles; swinging so high your feet touch the tree leaves; making tents from sheets over the clothesline.
Play is the work of childhood. If our children today don’t have time to do this, and do it often, how will they ever learn to be real workers in the real world?
Childhood is short.
Training takes time.
Hard work pleases God.
Just something to think about.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.