Follow-up post: Children and chores

Hey there BCU Family!

You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study! 

So a couple of weeks ago, I posted a meme on the BCU Instagram account FB3F39BC-AEF0-408C-9A5E-74F63E02D1B1that stated if a child can operate a smartphone, then they can use a household appliance (broom, dustpan, sponge, washer/dryer, etc.) For the most part, a majority of the people agreed with the visual, but we had a few people who had pretty strong objections to the image. Here are a few of the comments in part:

“This is nonsense, that a child can use a smartphone doesn’t mean that they should be using one nor that they should be burdened with the family housework…..”

“….Another post telling parents to use their kids as servants instead of providing and taking care of them as parents should do….”

“…Children are not your maids…The job of children is playing, learning, exploring not being your cleaner…there are no kids chores….forcing jobs on people that are really not their responsibility causes anxiety and resentment.”

“I do not agree with making kids have regular chores….chores that are not normally a child’s responsibility like vacuuming the living room.”

First off, BCU Fam, let me say that everyone is entitled to an opinion, so the fact that people disagreed with me is not point of this post.

Next, I invited all of the respondents to be a part of this post/podcast so we can talk about the image and reasoning behind our responses intelligently, in context and in real-time.

No one took me up on the offer. 🤔

Third, this is not a “clapback” or retaliatory post, rather in speaking to the Lord about it, this is an opportunity to take a deeper dive in what the Word of God says about training up children and where responsibilities come into play.

Let’s begin with our anchor verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

In addition, let us look at the meaning of the word “train” and “child”.

The Hebrew word for train is chanak and it means, “to initiate, dedicate, discipline, or train up” [Strong’s concordance]. Training is a dedicated regimen that directs, regulates, and impresses upon the child, in every manner of life, the path to be taken.

The word for “child” in this verse is the Hebrew word na’ar and it defines a child as a boy or girl from infancy through adolescence. This training is not intended to start at age 5, 10 or 13, but instead from the moment the child leaves the womb.(https://cozortscontemplations.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/train-up-a-child/).

This tells me that as parents/guardians, we are not only responsible for instructing our children in the ways of the Lord, we are also supposed  to teach them how to be responsible in other areas as well.  Training children includes things such as teaching colors, good sportsmanship, safety, playing instruments, study habits, how to drive AND and yes, age-appropriate chores.

As a matter of fact, most young children LOVE to help do things around the house–I have often had to decline their cute little offers because they were not ready for certain tasks. For example, I would not teach a three year-old to handle bathroom cleaners and a sponge or to operate a hot stove because the of their age, impending danger and obvious lack of maturity. However, that same toddler can be lovingly shown how to put toys back in the toy box or throw away a napkin when they are finished with it.

Something else I thought about—in many Christian education (Sabbath or Sunday school), preschool, kindergarten and early elementary classrooms, children often sing a “clean-up” song as they discard snack papers, put away crayons and push in chairs.  These are chore fundamentals that, in time and with age/maturity, naturally progress into other responsibilities, such as folding clothes, running the vacuum or putting away the dishes.

Chores are not about adults sipping lemonade under a shade tree, harshly barking orders while the kids scrub clothes by hand in 90-degree weather!  Training is about finding fun and creative ways to walk a child through how to take clothes down to the laundry room or properly load the dishwasher. Parents giving children age-appropriate chores is more about the life-time benefits, challenges and lessons that come with contributing to something and being part of a team. 

For example, my daughter learned to play the saxophone as a middle-schooler. In addition to practicing, (we’ll get back to that shortly), she was responsible for the care and cleaning of her instrument, rather than me doing it for her–that was her chore, her responsibility.  In addition, practicing daily was essential in order for her to get proficient in learning the sax and to be able to play her part in the band (aka the team).  Did she always want to practice and take care of her instrument? Of course not! Very often TV shows, friends, or the phrase”I don’t feel like it today” interfered.  (In fact, that “I don’t feel like it today ” stalks me as an adult from time to time! Lol!!) Still, she needed to understand that we don’t just abandon our responsibilities because something more amusing comes along. That contribution/responsibility/teamwork concept was relatively easier to reinforce because it was taught early on, versus teaching it from scratch at age 13. In many situations, that’s where the anxiety and resentment one of the respondents talked about can creep in.

My final thoughts here? The meme did not say nor did my post infer the ONLY thing  children should is do housework, there was nothing mentioned that said children should do ALL adult housework, nor did it say children should never play, explore, and have fun. I am grateful for my balanced childhood where my siblings and I learned all about Jesus, climbed trees, and took turns doing the dishes and other household chores. God has blessed us to grow up to be productive adults with no adverse scarring from our time with the vacuum cleaner.  Lest you think my childhood was so long ago and my experience outdated, just today I got a chance to speak with a young man from our church, Elijah, age 15, about this very subject.

After presenting both sides of the debate, Elijah admitted he wasn’t always crazy about his chores, BUT he couldn’t see life without them as they taught/teach him valuable organizational skills! This young man attends Sunday school/church with his family regularly, has great grades, excellent manners, is respectful, focused and knows exactly what he wants to do with his life post high school. Can you see Proverbs 22:16 in effect?

BCU Fam, God has made us all (including children) with a certain degree of learning capacity and ability to carry out age-appropriate duties. If a child has the aptitude to operate an $800 smartphone with proficiency, then he/she can also be taught to push a button on a household cleaning appliance or operate a manual one, like a broom with little difficulty.  I stand by my post and the Lord stands with me!

So what are your thoughts about this controversial topic? Is it biblically wrong to teach children how to do certain things at home? Should kids not do anything at all from toddlers to teens except play and do whatever they want? Did you have house responsibilities? Let’s talk some more in the chat section below!

Finally, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

Additional references:

When getting disciplined feels unfair.

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

Typically, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. For this post, because of the conversational story, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights and corresponding Scriptures. We pray the post blesses and encourages you.  If so, please thumbs up AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

If discipline was a part of your childhood, what were your thoughts after that lecture, being yelled at, the tears after that sore bottom, or being  grounded? I can recall commiserating with my brothers and the neighborhood kids/school mates about how “unfair” my consequences were. I walked in on a similar conversation between Jaz (8) and Peanut (7), and as I reflected on our talk about WHY they were being corrected, this podcast was born soon after! 🙂

Podcast highlights:

  • Correction is a part of the walk with Christ.
  • Proper chastening is needed to help us become more Christ-like.
  • The lesson learned and consistent application far outweighs the “pain” of the discipline.

Scripture references

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).

Hebrews 12:5-13

5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6For whom the Lord loveth he chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.

7If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?

8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.

11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Listen, BCU Fam, I am NOT a fan of being on the receiving end of correction, so with God’s grace I do what I can to stay OUT of trouble by following what God says, rather than willfully doing things my way, intentionally ignoring His voice, or repeating the same lesson over and over. When the discipline does come though, I thank God for it, because while it doesn’t feel good, it’s for MY good–being more Christ-like and making it to the Kingdom of Heaven! Besides, once we make it in, we will not remember a THING about what we went through to get there–we’ll just be glad TO be there, amen? Amen!

What are your thoughts about getting disciplined, BCUFam? There’s a comment section here on the BCU site, just ripe for us to continue our conversation!

In the meantime, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter Instagram, and  YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU