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:

How much does disobedience cost?

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 or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast outline:

So, in having a conversation with Professor Peanut (aged 7 1/2), we discussed the price of continued and deliberate disobedience and that play now, pay later is not the wisest of decisions. Here are the high points of what you’ll hear.

  • The importance of listening and following directions.
  • Thinking through the consequences of disobedience.
  • The need to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38).
  • ALL decisions carry a consequence—good or bad.
  • My own story where I rebelled as a youngster–and the HUGE price I paid.

Here is the podcast link!

Scripture references:

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. (Romans 6:1).

Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him, it is sin (James 4:17).

For he that sows to his flesh shall reap corruption, but he that sows to the Spirit shall reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:8). 

There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same [steward] was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he [the rich man] called and said unto him, how is that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you may no longer steward (Luke 16:1-2).

And the foolish said to the wise, give us of your oil for our lamps have gone out. But the wise answered and said, not so, lest there be not enough for us and you. but rather, go to those that sell and but for yourselves. Ans while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord open to us. But He answered and said, verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matthew 25:8-12).

His lord said unto him, well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:23). 

Whew! This was a sobering, but needful lesson, BCUFam! What are your thoughts about willful disobedience? Paying those consequences? Is it a struggle?  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

*Join us on Periscope every Thursday night at 8:05pmEST on channel BlenCouragesU.

Procrastination reason number 14: “Waiting for someone else do it”.

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 or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast highlights:

  • This is based on a Stewardship study series we’re doing on *Periscope, specifically time management/procrastination (meaning to forward to tomorrow), and the reasons for doing so. One such reason for procrastination: waiting for someone else to do it. 
  • The Lord showed me how that very reason came up in an area of my life…I totally missed it!
  • We talk through that illustration and the detriments of waiting and delegating.
  • We are accountable to God for all assignments He delegates to us.

Here is the podcast link!

Scripture references:

Faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him, it is sin (James 4:17).

And Gideon said unto God, if you will save Israel by mine hand, as You have said, behold I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth besides, then I shall know that You will save Israel by mine hand, as you have said (Judges 6:36-37–read through to verse 40).

There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same [steward] was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he [the rich man] called and said unto him, how is that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you may no longer steward (Luke 16:1-2).

And the foolish said to the wise, give us of your oil for our lamps have gone out. But the wise answered and said, not so, lest there be not enough for us and you. but rather, go to those that sell and but for yourselves. Ans while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord open to us. But He answered and said, verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matthew 25:8-12).

Whew! This was a sobering, but needful lesson, BCUFam! With God’s grace, we want to be in God’s perfect chronos/kairos timing in ALL assigned tasks. And that may mean us having to take an assignment the Lord gives us–one that we would not have chosen for ourselves. That’s another podcast, but suffice it to say, I know ALL about that! Nonetheless, as stewards, our responsibility is to carry out the duties that our wise God has assigned us.

What are your thoughts about avoiding the things God tells you to do, 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

*Join us on Periscope every Thursday night at 8:05pmEST on channel BlenCouragesU.

Ability, responsibility, and the baseball cap.

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, 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 post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Currently, it’s summertime and for many of us that means a family vacation. In prep for the trip to the southern part of the country, I brought “Peanut”, aged 7, a baseball cap. While it looked cute, the main purpose was to help protect his little head from the sun from the hot summer sun. During various points of the trip, I found myself asking and reminding this little one about wearing and keeping up with that hat.

Fast forward to today where it’s raining and will be raining pretty hard all day. In an unsuccessful attempt to dodge raindrops, Peanut gets in the car and I ask:

“Where is your hat?”

Peanut: (quietly) “I don’t know”.

Me: “Hmm..do you know where your fidget spinner is?”

Peanut: “Yes!”

Me: “What’s my point of asking you that?”

Peanut: “That I don’t know where the IMPORTANT things are–but I know where the  not so important things are.

Now I admit his response was pretty impressive for a second-grader. It also sparked a couple of thoughts.

Many of you all listening and reading may be thinking, “well he’s ONLY seven”. “Kids lose things all the time.” “Boys are like that”. “Just get over it..it’s ONLY a cap. Go buy him another hat, Blen.” And I hear these points loud and clear–no doubt. Let’s look at this from a natural and spiritual perspective.
We all have (well, we all should have) a level of responsibility for certain things. While I would not expect an 18 month old child to drive a car, he can pick up a toy and put it back in the toy box upon request. When my daughter was around little–maybe around 16-18 months or so, when I asked her to get me a diaper to change her, she understood me enough to do just that. It was also a sign that she could start to potty train.  And thank God,  she was FULLY trained before age two with minimal accidents.

My point here is that many times, (I know there are exceptions),  children are capable of much more that we think they are. And as parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, godparents–whatever your role is in a child’s life, we should be assigning responsibility to our children according to their ability.  We also need to teach (and consistently reinforce) the consequences to evading our duties as well.  This, in part helps them to grow up as mature, responsible adults– in most cases.  So, now that we’ve looked at this naturally, let’s look at this spiritually.

When someone gives us something, asks us to take care of something, gifts us with something that has a benefit, we have a responsibility with the help of the Lord, to take care of that something. Even if it seems insignificant or not super important at the time, it was IMPORTANT enough to the giver to entrust us with it, so it should be just as important to us to keep and take care of it.

This takes me to one of my favorite stories, the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30.  It’s real, relatable and encourages me to take care of what God gives–not just material-wise, but even the spiritual gifts and talents as well. I plan to give a synopsis here, but please take some time to read the parable in it’s entirety, BCU Fam—it will bless you!

There was a lord that had servants who had to go away for awhile and called in his servants to give them talents to take care of.

The lord gave one servant five talents, another two talents and another one talent. Note he gave out the talents according to their ABILITY, so the master knew what each one was capable of (verse 15).

After a period of time, the lord  returns to see how the servants did with the tasks they were entrusted with.  The servant that received the five talents gained five more and the one who received two gained two more, much to the delight of their lord who told them, “well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

When it came time for the servant with the one talent to reconcile, here’s what happened:

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 

25And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 
27So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
 28Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 
30And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Notice, BCU Fam that the servant was called wicked and lazy because he did NOTHING with his talent. Yes, he knew where it was, but because of his inaction, it was a good as lost, because it was TAKEN away–never to be recovered again. And on top of that–he was cast out where there was  sorrow, sadness, crying and regret. What a tragic ending to this servant’s story and his life!

I say all that, BCU Fam to say this: We should NEVER casually treat what God has given us to do. Some talents, gifts and opportunities that we are assigned, we may NOT be able to “just go get another one”.  We do not always get a second chance. We cannot say, “I was too young” because as our Creator knows exactly what we are capable of—He knows our ability, not age!!! And it is our RESPONSIBILITY with God’s grace and help to do what we can to gain more talents–win souls to the kingdom, excel in the ministry (ushering, praise and worship, cleaning the church, taking care of your family, being a witness on your job, preaching, teaching), what ever God has given! We are to flourish and not to hide or do nothing with our God-given assignment.

I am prayerful this post was a blessing, confirmation and a nudge to dig up your talent(s) and put them to work for our amazing God. I admit that it is easier and more comfortable to side-step our duties now, but inevitably we will have to give an account to God for every thing He’s given us to steward over and I want Him to say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a few things and I will make you ruler over many. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord!” That’s something to get excited about, Amen? Amen!

So, what do you want the Lord to say to you? How do you stay focused on your talents? Do you struggle with that at all? Let’s talk more in the comments section below!

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