Monday, March 29, 2010

Teaching Children Responsibility

Written by Lorrie Flem of

2 Thessalonians 3:10 states:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

We take this verse very literally around our home. In what I consider one of the smartest "rules" we've ever instituted around the Flem house, we assigned Before-Breakfast, Before-Lunch and Before-Dinner chores to each child. The chores are age appropriate and I spend time training the kids to make sure they understand how to do the task and what it looks like when completed. Then I give them the ownership of the task.

Only one of my eight kids has ever missed a meal due to not completing his before-meal chore. He missed a couple of times and because I stuck firmly to the rule (even though I cried a little), he did not eat. After that, he completed his chores and warned his siblings "Mom means it." It's worked well for our family.

In addition to helping our home run smoothly, these before-meal chores do something else for the kids: it teaches them responsibility. They take ownership of a task and are learning valuable lessons about completing what you start and being responsible for the task.

Responsibility is so often shirked by our society, but it's my observation that kids want responsibility. They want to please you and they want to prove to you that they are capable of what you've called them to do.

In a society that seems to run from responsibility, I'm adamant about teaching it to my children. One day they will stand before the Lord and take responsibility for the things they did in their lives. They will not be allowed to shirk from responsibility then, so I am training them now.

Having kids do chores is not merely about getting work done in our home. It's about growing something vital, it produces good character in our children. The benefits of work are eternal and as moms, it's our job to start that training process now. Before the next meal, even!

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