1126) Work and Play

WORK

“The Top Thing Parents Can Do to Turn Kids Into Successful Adults” by Annie Holmquist, article posted May 9, 2016 at http://www.intellectualtakeout.org

     Last week, Business Insider ran an interesting article listing 13 things parents can do to turn their child into a well-adjusted, successful adult.  The first thing on the list of what parents of successful kids have in common is “They make their kids do chores.”

     But if childhood chores are truly a predictor of future success, then it seems the U.S. is about to see a very unsuccessful generation, for only 28 per cent of parents require their children to do chores.  By contrast, 82 percent of those same parents were asked to do chores when they were kids.

     This steep decline is likely an outgrowth of numerous things, including the tendency to over-schedule both children and parents.  But is it possible that many of today’s parents are also unsure of how much they can reasonably expect of their child?  Authors and educators Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn address that issue in their book Teaching the Trivium. According to the Bluedorns, children are capable of far more responsibilities than we give them credit for:

“Develop in your child a love for work and service.  From the time a child is able to walk and talk, he should be given regular chores to perform.  We do not mean simply feeding the dog and making his bed.  A five-year-old is quite capable of putting the dishes away and folding the laundry.  A ten-year-old can prepare simple meals from start to finish.  Children of all ages can clean and straighten the house.  The mother should not be picking up things from off of the floor.  Your goal should be that, by the time the children are in their teens, they are able to take over the work of the household, from cooking to cleaning to caring for their younger brothers and sisters.  This not only teaches them to appreciate work while removing some of the burden from the parent, but it is good training for when they have their own households.  Do not do for your child what he can do for himself.”

     If we want to ensure that the next generation turns into successful, responsible adults, more parents are going to have to step up to the plate and expect more out of their children in the chore arena.

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PLAY

From “Kids– and Adults– Need to Get Outside” by Randy Alcorn, posted May 9, 2016, at http://www.epm.org

     A friend and I were driving through a neighborhood on a beautiful summer day and he said, “We haven’t seen a single kid outdoors.  They’re all inside, watching movies, playing video games and looking at computer screens.”

     When (I was) growing up, free time when it was daylight meant being outside, and free time at night meant reading a book.  I have great memories of playing army in the wheat fields around our house, and playing football and basketball at the local grade school, then getting in bed early and reading sometimes for hours before turning out the light…

     Our daughters, Karina and Angela, are both raising boys.  Nanci and I are proud of them and their husbands, and the way they are carefully training their sons.  Part of that is limiting the amount of screen time they get each day, and encouraging them to go outside and enjoy God’s creation, and read books as well!

     As an adult, I still love to be outside.  I especially love going out on my favorite bike trail, the Springwater Corridor, and breathing the fresh Oregon air, watching for rabbits and other wildlife and thoroughly enjoying the Creator’s art work.

     Studies show there is a high correlation between indoor living and depression.   As a counselor years ago, I noticed that the time of year when people suffer most from depression (and just about every other emotional disorder) is in the months of November through February.  In fall and spring the requests for counseling were half of what they were in winter, and in the summer they were even fewer.  (Certainly there are other factors that contribute to this, but lack of regular exposure to sunlight and fresh air in the winter months is a major one.)

     This is a thought-provoking video, one that’s not Christian or Bible-based but is nonetheless very revealing, about how kids’ ideas about having fun have radically changed over the years: 

http://viewpure.com/is5W6GxAI3c?start=0&end=0

     Make time outdoors part of your daily plan for both yourself and your family.  Whether it’s working in the garden, an outdoor quiet time, or a daily walk or run or bike ride, get out and do something—  for God’s glory and for the good of your children and grandchildren!

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Matthew 21:28-31  —  (Jesus said), “What do you think?  There was a man who had two sons.  He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.  Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing.  He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.  Which of the two did what his father wanted?”  “The first,” they answered.

Psalm 19:1  —  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 104:24-25  —  O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.  Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

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Almighty God and heavenly Father, we thank you for the children whom you have given to us; give us also grace to train them in your faith, fear, and love, that as they advance in years they may grow in grace, and be found hereafter in the number of your elect children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

John Cosin, Bishop of Durham  (1594-1672)