More from the news headlines…

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With so much hitting the headlines, it’s hard not to share. I hope it puts loads of wind in your equipping kid sails … and maybe loads of laundry in your kids’ more than capable hands. Thanks to MOAT Leslie for the Boston Globe article and to many of you that pointed me to Don Miller’s article.

The Boston Globe had me at “Why Your Children Should Do Chores“, especially when I noticed the article’s author, Agnes R Howard, is a history prof. Personally, I find history one of the greatest fuels to keep me going. I continually remind myself (especially in the heat of the whining) that in the not too distant past, young folks my kids ages were actually running their own household, gainfully employed. And I think about the countless people we as a society admire, many of whose pasts are peppered with genuine responsibility and a strong work ethic instilled by their families. Not in some special event, but as a way of life.

One example: At a dinner recently, Emmitt Smith (the guest of honor) shared that at the age of 10 — 10! — he was responsible to help care for his paralyzed grandmother, specifically during the night. He slept at her house, close to his own, in case she needed help. He didn’t think anything about it, until he looked back years later and realized the independence/responsibility his parents had instilled in him at an early age was certainly beyond what 10-year-olds normally do.

Good stuff … as is this:

But good insights can come from imagining mill life in Lowell and other New England cities: that children can do meaningful work, and their labors can contribute to the well-being of the family to which they belong. For most kids, the most obvious place for them to do that work is at home.

Housework may seem like a trifling thing. It isn’t. Anyone who judges housework unimportant might revisit decades of “chore wars” over work and gender roles for men and women. It may seem like a no-brainer to assume kids should do chores, but as a matter of course, US children do very little. In analyses of time-use studies, professor Sandra Hofferth and her colleagues at the University of Maryland Population Research Center estimate that, at last count, kids aged 6 to 12 do less than a half-hour of work a day. School is sometimes presented as the “work” we expect of our kids, and when homework is done they’re free to play. That arrangement is problematic. Housework, real work, still remains. Children should take it up because they enjoy the goods of the household, because they probably have more time than their parents to do it, and because they gain competence and responsibility in the process.

Parents might think domestic skills beneath their children’s worth, a waste of their precious time. But parents — also characters with worth and precious time — usually end up doing those tasks instead. And we, a democratic people, are not ones to assign some the caste of cleanup while others simply play. Work at home does not have to be a punishment. Learning to do chores helps children mature, helps orient them to the common good.

Please click the Boston Globe link to read more. You’ll be glad you did. She doesn’t outright say it, an often uses the concept of “common good”, but the truth supporting the benefit of such an approach can’t help but find itself rooted in serving others. Hmmm… back to that secret sauce of life. Lots more of other (rather than self) centeredness.

Then Don Miller opined on “Why Most Twenty Somethings Are Delusional” how the potential of this younger generation doesn’t seem to be materializing.

Oh, I know, I’m an ageist. But I don’t mean it that way. In fact, I firmly believe people in their twenties, officially one generation behind me, are better than my generation. What I mean by this is they are more altruistic, more international, more objective and less fearful than any generation in recent history.

And yet, they are also delusional. And here’s why:

1. They believe they are special.

2. They believe the work their parents did is the work they did.

3. They believe passion displaces work.

 ( he goes on to describe how, then shoots us/them some perspective …)

But the rules of free commerce have not changed:

1. Identify something people need or want.

2. Create that thing and create it well.

3. Sell that thing at a competitive price.

4. Clearly communicate what that thing is.

5. Give half the money you make to the government.

6. Give a percentage of your money to causes that need your money.

7. Love your spouse and your children, because in the end little else will matter. They don’t care about your money.

• • •
Remember, you are of the most altruistic and kind generations in history. But the rules haven’t changed. You can do this. We love you and believe in you…

So how do we get our kids to tap into all they have to offer? Apparently there are great ways to begin at home. (Yeah, we know.) Yesterday, I ran into my friend outside of Starbucks. She had just finished a Bar class. I was still holding my iced vanilla coffee. Another hmmmm…

Anyway, she showed me an app that has been incredibly helpful in their home. It might seemed packaged exclusively for younger pups, but I never cease to be surprised at what can motivate my kids. You Rule, A Game of Chores might be just the ticket for your crew.

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Check it out and let me know. Or share helpful tips from your own home. Walking this road together is sure better than alone!

Thanks for the articles, for the app tip … and for walking it with me.


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