Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are You Giving Your Children the Ultimate Gift?

In my mind there are three main aspects of parenting. The first is the theme of this blog - impressing upon our children a God who loves them and asks them to love Him in return.  Laying a foundation for them to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind.

The second is financial wisdom.  We continue to use the Money Management System that I created a year ago to train our children to tithe, save, and manage spending money.  I could go on for hours about the foundation this program is building for each of our children.

Last, but not least, is the gift of work.  The ability for our children to lay aside laziness, help the family, and take initiative when work needs to be done.


There are so many Bible stories (i.e. The Parable of the Talents) and verses (i.e. Colosians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.") that emphasis the point that we are to work and not have a lazy spirit.  In Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby explains that God is at work around us and we are to jump in.  Sadly, if we have a lazy attitude, we will ignore the work God has for us. I don't want my kiddos to ever run from what God has for them because it may require a little bit of sweat or time.

This concept is explained beautifully in the movie The Ultimate Gift (only $5 on Amazon).  Based upon a book by the same name, the plot will make you rethink how you are raising your kiddos. 

If you have not watched the movie, I highly suggest you do.  This is a movie that parents need to pull out every once in a while to review.  Included with the movie are Bible study questions and correlating scripture.  A great movie to watch with fellow parents and grandparents.  I also think this would be a good one for "family movie night" when the kiddos are older.  Rated PG, please preview the movie before showing your children.

For some reason our children don't always feel the need to assistant in family work.  Sometimes the attitude is plan yuck when it comes to doing chores.  In all reality, I know the reason.  We all struggle with it.  It is a selfish heart and lazy spirit.  Here's a couple of personal examples from a few years ago. 

I gave Bubs and Sweet Pea the job of stemming bing cherries that I was canning. Sweet Pea did great. Bubs didn't feel like he needed to participate. He wanted to play in the water, stir the cherries, and watch - but not help. As we worked he came up with every excuse imaginable to get out of the job.

A few days before that, Sweet Pea didn't feel like she needed to help pick up the potatoes that Daddy dug from the garden. In her case, her body is always too "hurt" to work.

I am sure you can create a mile-long list of stories similar to this.

My husband and I feel it is very important to instill a work ethic in our children. Not simply out of duty that they help, but for them to do work with a cheerful heart as that honors God.

Teaching a Work Ethic

In my mind, work ethic can be learned from chores, teaching the child to take initiative, and in working together as a family.


Let's look at chores first. There are entire books on why children should be expected to do chores.  I will list a few reasons that I feel make the case for chores, contributions, or whatever term you choose to use.
  • Teach responsibility
  • Teach self-discipline
  • Provide the child with a role in the family
  • Lower "entitlement" concept
  • Make the child a contributor to the family
  • Help remove the lazy spirit
  • Can be used to teach financial management
  • A way to bless mom and dad by helping with jobs that need to be done
  • Teach the child to "pull-his-own-weight"  (everyone has to help)
Not convinced that chores are necessary?  Do a Google search and you will find enough reading material to last you several years. The benefits of chores reach every aspect of the child's life.


Taking initiative is to notice the world around us and jump in when needed.  I pray that our children will have Jesus' eyes to see what He sees, His ears to hear as He hears, and then His hands to do His work.  I want our children to see the child who is sitting by himself and then go and offer friendship.  For our kiddos to notice an older lady carrying a heavy bag and offer to help her.  To see when I am doing the dishes in the kitchen and to help without being asked.

Working Together as a Family

Growing up on the farm, we worked countless hours together.  I thank God that my parents taught my siblings and I how to push up our shirt sleeves and get dirty.  My Dad's mottos was, "A family that [works on the farm together], sticks together."  He would quote and we would roll our eyes.  But, now I see how true it was.  We all had our roles on the farm and if we didn't do our part, the entire family and farm suffered.  We were {and still are} a team.  

So what do you think?  Is teaching a child to work important?  Please share your thoughts.

In the next blog post, I am going to share specific ways we are instilling these three aspects of work and thus giving our children the gift of work.  I would love to hear your ideas as well!

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  1. I think you do exactly what you're doing--you start early. And it helps if your kids enjoy the Little Red Hen. :) For us, that was a great thing to draw on...well, if you don't feel like ____ then you won't be able to enjoy ____ with the family.

    It's tough for me to draw the line between jobs that we do because we are part of the family and jobs my daughter does to earn her "wage" or allowance (we loosely follow Dave Ramsey on that one).

  2. My older kids do chores and when my little guy was 3, he really wanted chores too. He is 5 now and he feels so "big" and satisfied doing something for the family..some of his jobs,he empties the recycling, sets the table, help windexing the french doors and sorts his laundry.

  3. Kristi - Thanks so much for the comparison with the Little Red Hen!
    Can you expound on how you separate the family jobs and wage jobs?

  4. Looking forward to hearing more on this subject....feel it is badly needed in our family today. We often hear complaining and whining when our kids are asked to help do something. We have recently implemented your "quarter" system in our house and we love it --however they often want to know if they can earn a quarter for doing what we feel are just their daily chores. Trying to teach them to see the difference....

    1. I am glad that you are enjoying the Quarter System. And yes, the kids will asking me every once in a while if they can have a quarter for doing a job. I tell them that I will be glad to pay them a quarter but they will need to pay me 2 quarters for the meal I just served them. Then this opens a good conversation. :)


The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.