Tag Archive for responsibility

A Gift to Build a Longer, Happier Marriage

Want to give your spouse a great gift? If you do, I have the perfect idea. This gift will promote your spouse’s physical health and even contribute to longer life. It will also enhance your relationship, leading to a happier, longer-lasting marriage. To top it all off—the icing on the cake so to speak—this gift is free! The gift I’m talking about is the gift of becoming a more conscientious person. Hold on…let me explain. A study involving 2,203 couples over 50-years-old showed that conscientious people had better health and lived longer. “But wait there’s more…,” the gift aspect. A husband’s conscientiousness predicted his wife’s physical health above and beyond the influence of her own personality. A wife’s conscientiousness had the same impact on her husband’s health. In other words, you can contribute to your spouse’s long, healthy life and long, healthy marriage by becoming more conscientious. That’s a great gift! How can you become more conscientious? Here are a few ideas.

  • Take responsibility for your own emotional, physical, and mental health. Establish an exercise routine. Eat wisely. If you smoke or take unnecessary drugs, stop. Learn how to manage your thoughts and emotions. If you need help doing these things start by reading a book like “The Resiliency Factor” or “The Power of Habit.”
  • Get organized. Set some goals. Be sure to include relationship goals like dates, vacations, and time together. Set a goal to write your spouse a love letter or a letter of appreciation. Make a “to do list” each day. Make sure to put at least one thing to express love to your spouse on that “to do list.”
  • Plan ahead. Rather than making impulsive purchases, for example, plan ahead. Set a goal to save the money for the purchase rather than buy it impulsively on credit.
  • Keep your promises. In fact, make sure you can follow through on a promise before you even make it. Become known as a “person of your word” who others can trust.
  • When problems arise, take the time to address them before they grow. This can be as simple as putting your dirty cup in the dishwasher or as complex as resolving a disagreement with your spouse by apologizing for a wrong you committed. Address problems as they arise.

To become a more conscientious person takes some time and effort. However, the dividends are more a longer life and a happier marriage for you AND your spouse. That’s a gift worth the effort.

Do Your Child a Favor: LOVE Mistakes

One-hundred-twenty-three children played this video game, all 7-years-old.  No, it’s not the start of a bad joke. It’s the start of an interesting study about learning. Anyway, the children played a fast-paced game in which each player helped a zoo-keeper capture escaped animals by pressing the space bar when an animal appeared UNLESS…(there is always an “unless,” an exception) a group of three “orangutan friends” appeared. These “orangutan friends” were helping capture the other animals. They were “allies,” so the player had to refrain from capturing them. Although the children had fun playing the video game, the real purpose of the game was to test accuracy and impulse control (not pushing the space bar when the three “orangutan friends” appeared). One more thing you need to know—the whole time the 7-year-olds played, researchers monitored their brain activity. In particular, they wanted to know what happened in the brain when a child makes a mistake.

They discovered that some children exhibited a significant increase in brain activity about half-a-second after making a mistake, indicating their awareness of the mistake and their attention to what went wrong. These children exhibited improvement in their performance after making a mistake.

Another group of children did not exhibit this significant change in brain activity when they made a mistake. They seemed to “gloss over” the mistake and mentally avoid acknowledging it. Their performance did not improve. They continued to play and make the same mistakes over again.

Of course, the implication of these results seems obvious: when we pay attention to our mistakes we learn from them and improve our future performance. So why do so many children not pay attention to mistakes? Perhaps they have never learned the importance of acknowledging and learning from mistakes. As a parent, you can help remedy this situation and increase your children’s ability to learn by loving mistakes!

  1. Love your own mistakes. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it. No need to get defensive or angry. Simply acknowledge the mistake. Attend to that mistake and figure out how you can avoid it in the future. In other words, learn from your mistake. Talk to your children about mistakes you have made, what you learned from those mistakes, and how you corrected it. Modeling this type of response to mistakes will create an environment in which your children are free to do the same.
  2. Love your children’s mistakes. When you children make a mistake, address it calmly and directly. Don’t belittle them for the mistake, but don’t gloss over it either. Don’t shy away from the mistake with a simply, “It’s OK, you’ll do better next time.” Address the mistake. “You made a mistake. Mistakes happen. Let’s figure out where you went wrong and how we can fix it.” The opportunity to figure the mistake out opens the door for improvement. So explore the mistake. Talk about the mistake and what might fix it. Then enjoy the solution.

When we love our mistakes children will learn to accept mistakes as a learning opportunity. They will delve into challenges with little fear of mistakes or failure because they know mistakes lead to growth. They will pay attention to their mistakes and improve the next time; and, as a result, they will enjoy greater confidence in the present and success in the future.

“You Complete Me” Kills a Marriage

At least two quotes came out of the movie Jerry Maguire (1996): “Show me the money” and “You complete me.”

I wouldn’t mind if someone took the time to “show me the money.” Better yet, hand me the money.  I’m glad to work for it, but I still want someone to “show me the money.”

The second quote raises more serious questions for me.  “You complete me” is NOT the basis of a healthy relationship. “You complete me” sounds like I’m half a person without my spouse…that only my spouse can make me whole, meet my needs, and help me grow. “You complete me” raises expectations that my spouse and I must think alike, behave alike, hold the same opinions, and dream the same dreams. Preferably those dreams will be mine and you will simply “complete them.” Think about it. If my spouse completes me, I am incomplete on my own. I will expect, even demand, my spouse:

  • Always be there to listen to me and comfort me when I am sad or upset,
  • Always want to have sex as often as I want and every time I want it,
  • Always appreciate me and never get angry with me
  • Always be available and attentive to my every need,
  • After all, “you complete me.” I’m incomplete without you. You are an extension of me. In fact, there is no room for individuality. We are one!

As you can image, “you complete me” can easily lead to feeling trapped. “You complete me” also attempts to change the other person so they can make me more complete. “You complete me” will blame others for my incompleteness and eventually lose interest in one who does not do what I want.

Great marriages are not about addition in which two halves add up to make a complete whole. Great marriages are about multiplication in which two individuals choose to become one.

Let me explain. Two people who are “half way mature” do NOT make a whole mature relationship, but a QUARTER of a relationship. In other words, .5 X .5 = .25.

Only two individuals who have reached independent maturity make a whole mature, healthy relationship. In other words, only 1 X 1 = 1.

Mature adults in healthy marriages each have their own lives.

  • They accept personal responsibility for their decisions and emotions. They do not cast blame on others for decisions that go wrong or for negative emotions they experience. Instead, they take action to correct their decisions or manage their emotions.
  • They have friends who support them and their marriages. They know how to develop friendships and they enjoy time with friends.
  • They have dreams and aspirations. They share their dreams with one another. They also take the initiative to work toward those dreams and support their spouse in reaching his/her dreams together.
  • They accept their strengths and weaknesses. They utilize their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses and even make improvement in areas of weakness.
  • They are relationally comfortable in their own skin, warts and all.

So if you want a truly healthy marriage, become more mature as an individual. Learn to manage your life. Develop your interests. Share your maturing self with your spouse. Your marriage will grow more intimate as you do. Paradoxically, the more mature you become as an individual, the more intimate and secure you can become as an adult.

The Top 6 Components of an Effective Apology

Let’s face it; we all make mistakes. We all do things in and to our families for which we need to apologize. It could be something as simple as forgetting to pick up the milk or as complex forgivenoteas feeling unloved. Whatever it is, an apology is in order. But, not just any apology will do. Research out of Ohio State explored what makes an apology effective. The study’s lead author, Roy Lewicki, completed two studies involving a total of 755 people and found an effective apology consists of six components. In each of the two studies, participants read a scenario that included an apology for a wrong committed. In both studies, the apologies containing more of the six components were considered more effective. At the same time, not all components were equal. Participants considered certain components more important than others.  So, for the top six components of an effective apology:

  • Number six and the least important component is…a request for forgiveness. Not surprising. After all, asking the other person to forgive me means I’m still thinking about myself. So, if one component is left out, this might be the one.
  • Numbers five, four, and three tied for third place in importance. So, the components of forgiveness landing in third place of importance are…expression of regret, an explanation of what went wrong, and a declaration of repentance. These components remain very important but are not enough by themselves. They need more. They’re all talk—expression, explanation, declaration. We need the component deemed number two in importance to move the apology to a new level and make it more effective.
  • Offering a repair. The second most influential component in an apology is offering to fix the wrong, to undo the damage. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. The offer to repair the wrong moves the apology into the realm of action.
  • And, finally, the number 1 component of an effective apology is…acknowledgement of responsibility. Clearly stating you made a mistake, accepting fault, and taking responsibility is the number one component of an effective apology. Avoid blame. Offer no excuses. Just accept fault and acknowledge responsibility.

These six components of an effective apology could help resolve disagreements in our family. And, thankfully, you can teach these skills to your family. Encourage one another to accept responsibility for wrongs committed. Help one another consider ways to make repairs for wrongs committed, whether committed unintentionally or intentionally. Perhaps the best way to teach these six skills is by example. Model the six components in your own life. Model, model, model…and model again.

Should We Give an Allowance?

Parents often give children an allowance to motivate them to complete chores. Unfortunately, I have found allowances to be poor motivators. Don’t get me wrong.
Allowances often worked in our family for a short time…but then no longer worked. They would work again when our child had something they really wanted to buy (the real motivator); but they often had nothing they really wanted to buy. So, the motivation of receiving an allowance generally seemed short-lived and faded quickly. At least it did for us. Still, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Allowances can offer a great learning experience once we wrap our head around their real purpose. What is that real Family Bank of Honorpurpose? The purpose for giving an allowance is not to motivate but to teach. Allowances help our children learn the value of hard work and the benefit of managing money responsibly. Kevin Lehman describes one way to use an allowance to teach our children responsible and wise money management in his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I share it with you below.

 

First, determine what chores your children can do and a fair “salary” for that work. Then, give your children their first week’s pay. I know…they haven’t earned it yet. Consider it a “signing bonus” or an advance. Now your children can begin completing their assigned chores. If they forget a chore, someone else will have to do it. But such choices carry a price in the real world. The one who chooses to neglect his chore must pay the one who completes it. Your child will have to dip into his allowance and pay his brother, sister, or parent for the chore they completed for him.

 

On another occasion, your children may decide they are too tired or too busy to do their chore. It still needs completed, so they can negotiate with another family member to do it…and pay them out of their own allowance.

 

If our children aren’t careful, they will run out of their allowance money half way through the week. At that point, they have to do their own chores because “they got no money” to pay the help. They have learned several things, including:

  1. It costs money to have someone else do my work.
  2. I only have so much money.
  3. When I’m out of money, I can’t pay for help.
  4. I need to use money wisely.
  5. Doing work, even for a brother or sister, can result in making more money.
  6. When children manage their chores and allowance wisely, they save money. They learn that hard work can help them save money.

 

In this way, allowances are a great teaching tool to help our children learn the value of work and the wisdom of managing money.

We Have a New Cat…

My family just got a new kitten. My wife loves kittens so we have had a cat (or two) most of our married life. My daughters also love kittens. They laugh, giggle, “ooh,” and “aww” as the cats play or snuggle up. I don’t tell them, but I kind of like cats too. I don’t “ooh” and “aww” or sit around watching them play; but it is relaxing to pet a cat and listen to him purr. Actually, owning a pet of any kind brings great benefit to your family. Let me share a few.

  • catsPet ownership actually has medical benefits for your family. University of Pennsylvania conducted a study showing that owning a pet had benefits similar to health-promoting behaviors like eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and having close ties with family and friends for those with heart disease. Other studies have shown that petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure. One study showed that 5- to 11-year-olds who had a pet in the home took fewer sick days off school. And children who had a pet in the home during their first year of life had fewer allergies and less asthma when they were between 7-13 years old. Pet owners also live longer. (Read more about these benefits in Medical Self-Care: Health Benefits of Pet Ownership)
  • Pet ownership reduces stress. Whether you watch a cat chase a red dot, receive a rambunctious welcome from your puppy, or simply watch fish in an aquarium, pets help us laugh and relax.
  • Pet ownership teaches responsibility. Your children can have the chore of feeding, scooping, cleaning, or bathing. They learn responsibility by taking ownership of such a meaningful chore, a chore that promotes life and relationship. You can also participate in these jobs with them to enhance your own parent-child relationship.
  • Pet ownership promotes learning. It may seem strange, but you have seen it if you have pets-your child sitting with their pet curled up beside them reading a book or doing homework. A pet offers a non-judgmental ear for children’s learning. In one study, children who owned dogs were given the choice of reading with a peer, an adult, or their pet dog. Forty percent chose to read with their dog. They felt most relaxed practicing this skill with their pet. (Learn more about how pets help kids learn at The Benefits of Pets).
  • Pet ownership can provide comfort to family members. One study asked children what they would give less popular children to help them make friends. The number one answer: a pet! Pets teach us how to show empathy. They also provide a great starting point for relationship, a common ground to talk about with many other children. Another study asked a group of five-year-old pet owners what they did when they felt sad, angry, or afraid. Forty percent mentioned their pets. Pets provided them comfort, a non-judgmental ear, and affection when they needed it. I have met several children who note they feel safer at home with a pet to keep them company or a dog to offer extra protection.
  • Pet ownership increases family bonding and fun. Families come together to share in grooming, feeding, walking, and cleaning pets. They play together with their pets. They watch them together, laughing at “pet antics.” In one instance, 70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after acquiring a pet. In a study of one hundred children 13 years old or younger, 80% of those who owned cats got along better with friends and family. (For more on these and other benefits read The Positive Effects of Pet Ownership for Kids).
  • Pet ownership encourages everyone’s ability to care for others. Caring for a pet can plant the seeds of compassion. In particular, caring for a pet allows boys the opportunity to engage in a caring activity that does not appear “too girly.”

There you have it-7 benefits of pet ownership for your family…and mine. I admit it. I enjoy our cats. Perhaps these two quotes sum up the benefits of pet ownership. I hope you like them.

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to get home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” (John Grogan, Marley and Me)

“Pets devour loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future.” (Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon)

Parenting Advice to Parents of Teens…From Teens

Parenting teens is tough. They often seem to believe they have all the answers. They “know” exactly what they need, exactly how a parent can best parent, and exactly what their parent is doing wrong. Well, I decided to listen in on the vast wisdom of a few teens and learn some of their parenting tips. Actually, they did offer some pretty good advice. So, I’m sharing their advice with you—advice to parents straight from the teen’s mouth.

  • Cute Teenage Girl with Serious Expression“Get a hobby.” Healthy teens are moving toward independence. They want to establish their own identity, to individuate and become their “own person.” So, they begin to spend more time with friends and less time with parents. The joy of having a parent by their side now becomes the annoyance of “my parent, the stalker.” Don’t misunderstand this advice. Teens still need parents. Even more surprising, teens want their parents to remain available and attentive to their needs. They need a safety net only their parents can provide. Remain available to your teen. Let your teen know you are available. Talk with them. But “get a hobby.” Do not make them the sole focus of your life. Invest in your own interests and friends. Have fun with other adults.
  • “Quit interrogating me.” Many teens have told me they “can’t stand” being asked “a lot of questions.” They don’t want to walk through the door into a barrage of questions: “How are you? Where did you go? What did you do? How was school? Did you remember to put gas in the car? How come you look unhappy? Are you OK? What’s wrong?” Quit asking so many questions and simply greet your teens when they come home. Ask one, maybe two questions. Tell them about your Give them space and allow for some silence. Develop the conversation of friendship with your teen—one which involves both people sharing information about themselves and their day. Honor your teen by trusting them to reveal information to you in their time and in their way while you simply keep the door open.
  • “Let me be me.” Too many teens feel compared to a parent, brother, sister, neighbor, or “me when I was your age….” Comparisons leave us, and our teens, feeling unaccepted or “not good enough.” In response, our teen might just give up and say, “Nothing I do is good enough anyway.” Comparisons hinder our teens’ self-esteem. Instead of making comparisons, simply acknowledge what your teens do. Accept their level of ability, acknowledge their interests, and praise their efforts to improve. You will watch your teen grow in maturity as a result.
  • “It’s my life. Let me make my own mistakes.” Of course we do not want our teen to make a life threatening mistake. However, most mistakes are more of an inconvenience than a true threat. Teens learn from their mistakes, just like we did. So, let your teen make some mistakes. Keep the lines of communication open so you can warn them of the dangers. Remain available to offer guidance. Rather than telling them “I told you so,” show empathy for the discomfort and negative results your teens experience when they make the poor choice. Doing so will allow your teen to learn from that mistake…just like you and I did.
  • “Life with you is boring.” The teen brain is undergoing a whole remodeling. During remodeling, teens’ “reward center” operates differently. They need a greater thrill, a bigger risk, to activate the reward center. But, when it is activated, they experience a greater rush, a bigger thrill, and are ready to do it again. In other words, what excites you and I will often bore our teen. So, they seek the next thrill; and when they find that thrill they get a rush of chemicals in their brain’s reward center. We don’t want that thrill to be life threatening or dangerous. Taking the time to know your teen is a healthy practice to help you manage their risky behavior. Take time to discover your teens’ likes and interests. Gently guide them toward taking healthy risks based on their interests. Help them learn how to find that rush of excitement while remaining safe.

Believe me, teens have a lot more to say about parenting, but I didn’t want to overwhelm anybody. Just let these 5 pieces of teen parenting advice sink in and maybe we can learn more “teen wisdom” in the future.

Avoid 5 Practices to Have a Successful Family Conflict

Yes, you can have a successful family conflict! Successful conflict increases mutual understanding and intimacy. It draws families closer together. Conflict also reveals ways to help your family grow stronger. Conflict can do this and more if we avoid five practices. If Pointing fingers at each otheryou let these five practices sneak into your family conflict, misunderstandings increase. Anger grows. Intimacy diminishes. Joy dwindles. What five practices interfere with a successful conflict? Let me share them here.

  • Mind-reading interferes with successful conflict. Mind reading occurs when one person assumes to know what the other person thinks or intends by their actions or words. A person who mind reads assumes to know the motives of the other person. Mind reading implies that “I know your thoughts, intents, and motives better than you know them yourself.” When a person practices mind reading, he passes up the opportunity to truly understand what the other person means, intends, and believes. He increases the chances of misunderstanding the other person’s motives. Instead of mind reading, ask questions. Seek to understand what the other person means and intends by their statement.
  • Labeling interferes with successful conflict. Labeling involves name-calling. It can be as subtle as “You’re irrational” or as direct as “You’re an idiot!” Labeling, name-calling, will obviously interferes with a successful conflict. Name-calling hurts. It arouses the other person’s defensiveness. It passes judgment on the other person. It implies the conflict cannot be successfully resolves since the other person is “an idiot,” a “jerk,” or…you fill in the blank. Instead of labeling and name-calling, practice kindness in the midst of conflict. Take the time to remember the other person’s positive qualities.
  • Blaming interferes with successful conflict. Sometimes people blame directly. “It’s your fault!” Sometimes we use a more subtle form of blaming, “You-tooing.” “I may have left the dishes out, but you….” “Well even if I did break the dish what does it matter? You have broken lots of dishes in the past!” By blaming we avoid responsibility. We avoid looking at our own contribution to the situation. We “pass the buck.” The person we have a conflict with is more likely to take responsibility for his role in the conflict if we willingly take responsibility for our role in the conflict. Instead of blaming, accept responsibility. Apologize as needed. Take the log out of your own eye and state what you will do differently to resolve this conflict.
  • kids arguing 5 and 6 years oldKitchen-sinking also interferes with successful conflict. Kitchen-sinking is throwing every past conflict and frustration into the sink when you are discussing one dirty dish. You’ve had the kitchen-sink experience. You and your spouse begin to argue about a single incident but, as the argument progresses, you both bring up “the time you forgot to put the gas in the car” or “the time you yelled at me for no reason” or “the time you went out with the guys instead of watching a movie with me” or…you get the idea. I’ve heard couples bring up things that happened 20 years ago when they begin to argue about a specific incident that occurred yesterday. Kitchen-sinking prevents you from resolving anything. Stop kitchen-sinking. Instead, deal with one incident at a time. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. So, once you resolve an incident put it to rest. No need to beat a dead horse. Resolve it and let it go.
  • Generalizing interferes with successful conflict. We generalize with words like “always” and “never.” “You never listen to me.” “You always get your way.” Such generalization increase defensiveness. The other person feels the need to “prove” the generalization wrong. The conflict becomes a surface battle of events rather than the deeper dialogue of resolving hurt feelings and emotional disconnection. Instead of making broad generalizations, stop to think of exceptions. Consider times that counter the generalization. Instead of making broad generalizations, deal with the incident at hand…no more, no less. It is not an issue of “always” or “never” but an issue of “today” and “this time.”

Avoiding these five practices will help you experience the true joys of a successful family conflict.

A Baker’s Dozen to Show Grace in Troubled Relationships

John Gottman believes “91% of the time the ground is ripe for miscommunications” in a marriage. I don’t know about the percentage, but I know conflict and misunderstandings arise in every family. It is inevitable. But, have you notice that family conflict can go from familysunheartbad to worse in no time? Grace gets thrown out the window and everyone involved begins to respond with anger, blame, accusations, and defensiveness. These responses lead to more anger, blame, accusations, and defensiveness. They may even result in withdrawal from the relationship and the death of a family. How can you avoid this terrible end? Respond with grace. Grace is an unmerited kindness, a favor given to someone even if they do not deserve it. When at least one person responds with grace, the outcome of the interaction will change. The people involved in the argument have a greater chance of connecting rather than pushing one another away. The argument has a greater chance of reaching a resolution. Let me share a baker’s dozen for responding with grace in the midst of troubled family relationships.

  • Rather than blaming the other person, look at your own contribution to the current situation (the log in your own eye).
  • Rather than making accusations, accept responsibility for your own actions and your own limited understanding.
  • Rather than responding with defensiveness, respond with curiosity about the feelings and emotions of the other person.
  • Rather than shutting down, communicate with the other person.
  • Rather than arguing and fighting, share a friendly conversation about something that interests the other person. If some topics lead to arguments, table them for another time.
  • Rather than assuming negative intent about the other person and their actions, look for the times they showed love. Assume positive intent—even in seemingly negative behavior.
  • Rather than trying to control the situation or the other person, pursue an understanding of the other person.
  • Rather than focus on the negative you perceive in the other, focus on what you admire and adore in them.
  • Rather than trying to make the other person change or “grow,” focus on your personal growth. You are only responsible for your personal growth.
  • Rather than criticizing and making accusations about the other person’s past or character, practice kindness…and give a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
  • Rather than making assumptions about the other person’s motives or intents, believe the best and simply ask what the other person wants.
  • Rather than speaking in sarcasm, speak in patience and love.
  • Rather than taking responsibility for the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and decision, take responsibility for yourself. You cannot make the other person happy—that is their personal responsibility. You cannot make decisions for the other person or determine how they will live—that is their personal responsibility. Let the other person take their responsibility and you take your responsibility.

 

Responding with grace in the midst of troubled family relationships will change, filling you with greater character and personal strength. It will change your relationship as well, filling it with greater joy and intimacy.

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-Mother And Son Doing Laundrytwenties 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.

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