Chores Have A Purpose
As I grow and learn, I understand; childhood lessons that once seemed like punishment did have a purpose.
When I was a child, I had trouble cleaning my room, let alone doing chores in the rest of the house! I had a hard time understanding why I had to do chores at all. Now as an adult, it’s so obvious as to why we do chores! Cleaning of any kind was very hard for me then, but I have learned that breaking any task into smaller bits is a very efficient time saver.
For example, when I whined about cleaning my room, my father would ask me what the problem was. I’d tell him that there was just too much to do. He would take everything that was out of place and toss it in the middle of the floor. Then he would walk to the door and say, “Now don’t come out until everything is put away. Just put everything away one at a time.” I thought I was being punished, but the reality is that my Dad was teaching me a valuable lesson.
As I turned back to look at my room, I remember it appearing cleaner except for the pile in the middle of the floor. This made the job seem more manageable and I picked up one item at a time to put it away. However, I always hated folding clothes so I folded a few items, hung up one or two more, and then tossed the rest behind the bed, hoping Dad wouldn’t find it. Of course when I ran out of clothes, Mom would figure me out.
My point is that I was able to manage to get the room cleaned. Have you ever heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! But there’s one more important piece in this equation and that is — learning style.
What is YOUR learning style or personality type?? How do you process information? Do you need to see a clean space, hear how having a clean space will help you, play music or have silence while you clean, have others around, etc. Figure out what helps you get things done and do it!
If you find that you have a hard time with large tasks, break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This is a common saying, but how many times do people actually do this?
When you are working with children on chores, show them some examples of “before and after.” If you have a messy room, get everyone to clean it together so that you’ll quickly see the end result; then talk about how nice a clean room makes everyone feel. When you walk into someone’s home and they have a large open room with furniture neatly laid out and clean walking space, does it make an impression on you? I know it does with my family.
Another idea could be to have someone other than yourself show your child how to do a particular cleaning job or proper etiquette, so consider setting up an informal class with one of your friends or neighbors. You teach her children and she can teach your children. When the same instructions or guidance is heard from someone other than the parent, it somehow sinks in.
Just remember that any job is easier done in smaller pieces and with clear instructions!
By the way, I learned another purpose for doing chores. Most of my exercise came from doing chores, when I was home with my children. Now that I’m home without children and don’t have as many chores, I’m not using those muscles often enough. The workout is good for your health and you use muscles you might not otherwise use. Think about the muscles you use while vacuuming, doing dishes, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. I realized that I use different muscles for each and therefore get a full body workout.
Next time you don’t want to do chores, think about the awesome workout and how it will help tone your body when done on a regular basis. And now that I think of it, you could probably save money on a gym membership too!
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