Mike and I had been posted for ambush along the route where the enemy trucks made deliveries. Our mission: to disrupt supply lines. Our success rate: zero. Our inadequate firearms simply could not stop the heavy trucks as they came rolling through, sometimes right between us. On this particular day, we unloaded our entire clips to no effect.
The truth is that we were twelve years old, our guns were sticks carefully chosen to look as much like rifles as we could manage, our enemies were dump trucks running along Perkins Lane. But it was great fun: imaginative, creative, and OVER. Along came my dad, ”Throw that stick down and get the lawn mower and let’s get this lawn mowed.” This was a two to three hour project, depending on how enthusiastically I approached it, or it depended on what I wanted to do with the rest of my day. So I mowed the lawn. The job was done, something was accomplished, my dad was pleased; then I could go back to playing. . . happily. At that age, I thought it was the playing that made me happy; since then, I have learned that it was the work.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God.
Teaching our kids to work happily is a challenge we all face. Unfortunately, few people put the word happy and the word work in the same sentence. Most associate work with drudgery. They live for the weekend, for the vacations, for the retirement, and the result is less effective work.
We have the mistaken idea that work is a curse, not an opportunity. Because of this, we are reluctant too often to engage our children in regular work, thinking of it as punishment, not blessing.
Gen. 1: 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule . . over all the earth.” Gen. 2: 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. THOSE WHO WORK . . .RULE! God assigned Adam work to do before he sinned. Work is not part of the curse. It is the path to rulership. Jesus said that serving is the path to greatness.
John 17: 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Jesus saw his task as opportunity to bring glory to God; so should we. This is what we should be passing on to our kids. Completed work glorifies God.
Gathered tips on training our kids to work joyfully: When our kids were younger, we made Saturday morning a work time. We set clear goals to be accomplished. When the work was complete, we all went for pizza. In Sydney Taylor’s book All-of-a-Kind Family she tells how the mother hid a coin somewhere within the day’s chores, making the job both more exciting and the efforts more thorough. You could keep it if you found it. Gregg Harris established a rule for his household that involved work. Here it is: Whoever messes it up cleans it up. You can clean it up with your child but not for your child.
Quote for the week: I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. Helen Keller
Question for next week: What is your family mission statement?