Dear Children, The Real Reason I Make You Do Chores
Children, sometimes I ask you to help around the house or in the yard. Sometimes I may even expect you to do quite a bit. So, I feel as though I need to tell you the real reason I expect you to do chores. Contrary to what you might think, it is not so I can enjoy the fruits of child labor or sit in my chair watching the game while you do all the work. No, my main reason for making you do chores is much more personal. One reason I make you do chores is revealed in a study completed in 2003 by M. Rossman at the University of Minnesota. This study suggested that the best predictor of a person’s success in their mid-twenties is participating in household chores starting around three or four years of age. Success in this study included not using drugs, completing their education, starting their career, and having high quality relationships. I want you to have those things…and if chores will help, I want you to do chores. But, that is not my main reason.
There are other reasons I make you do chores. Chores teach us to wait for and work for good things rather than jump at the first thing that comes along. Learning to help with household chores teaches many life skills as well…skills like dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, keeping a neat home, how to do laundry, hot wo maintain a year. Knowing how to do these tasks will make you more independent and reliable. As much as I hate to see you grow up and leave home, I want you to have all these skills before you go. But, this is still not my main reason for making you do chores.
You have to admit, after we finish mowing, weeding, and trimming the yard (or picking up, dusting, and vacuuming the living room) it is nice to sit back and look at our work. Chores give us that opportunity…the opportunity to feel good about work we complete and completed well. I want you to have that experience and take it with you wherever you go. That sense of competence and achievement will help you develop a strong work ethic and lead to greater success at work and in relationships. As important as this is, it is still not my main reason for making you do chores.
My main reason for making you do chores is much more personal. I make you do chores because…I love you. You are part of our family. As a family, we work as a team to keep our household running smoothly. In all reality, I cannot do it alone. I need you. I want you to know you are a valued member of our family. We need your strength, your insight, and your participation. We need you. Your contribution to our family is irreplaceable. And, I enjoy working with you. I enjoy our time together, talking as we work—sharing the burden, laughing as we struggle through an obstacle. Having you work by my side makes everything go by quicker and seam easier. So thank you. Thank you for helping with the household chores. When you start your own family, I hope you will look back on our projects with joy and give your children the same opportunities to groan and complain while you love them, nurture them, and cherish your time doing chores with them.