*Post is written in behalf of my Family100 College class. Quotes and material are found from ‘Successful Marriages and Families – Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives,’ Chapter 21, The Meanings and Blessings of Family Work.
“At every age, children respond best when working alongside parents or other children, but even when they work alone, they benefit from the experience. Canadian Scholars who compared children who do “self-care tasks” (making own beds, cleaning own messes) with children who participate in “family-care tasks” (setting the table, washing family dishes, folding family laundry) found “an overall pattern of results suggesting that beneficial effects of household work occur… when that work involves assistance to others, when it is required on a routine or self-regulating basis, and when the outcome variable is cancer for others revealed in the family context.”
“In other words, children learn to care for others by doing work that helps them think about others.” (pg. 221)
In the article ‘Family Work’ by Kathleen Slaugh Bahr and Cheri A. Loveless, this line stuck out to me, “It was through this shared work that we showed our love and respect for each other–and work was also the way we learned to love and respect each other.” It is in this quote that I’d like to expound.
Work can be extremely rewarding in these ways. My husband grew up in a family that consistently did “Family Work Projects every Saturday.”These projects would include projects around the house and projects in the community. Ed would say that a good way to spend time with his Dad was to simply go to work with him. It was in these projects that my husband gained appreciation and respect for the things in which he had. For example, he had to work to get basketball shoes. Because of this work he took care of his shoes very well because he remembered the work he did to gain them. The same can go for a teenager earning a car rather than being given one or perhaps a missionary who has saved up for his/her mission. We have to be careful of the spirit of entitlement. Of course we want to give our children things we never had as kids, but we must not let them become idle. Work can also show our children exactly how things come to be and to not take them for granted.
I remember cooking and doing laundry with my Mom and thinking, wait, you do this every day? Working by her side I gained love and respect for her. I knew not to take her for granted. The same goes with helping my Dad get firewood and realizing that it didn’t just magically appear in a crate all chopped up. By helping with these projects I too was able to “show” love and respect and also “learn” love and respect.
There were also those times we had to rake up the apples in the orchard. I dreaded doing it on my own but if my brothers were out there raking with me, then you could bet I was eager to be alongside them… to have an apple war of course!