I know you’ve heard “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”. That’s an old fashioned paraphrase of the Bible verse –
‘Whoever does not discipline his son hates him, but whoever loves him is diligent to correct him.’ ISV
Today I say “Spare the Laundry and Spoil the Child”.
Lessons I’ve learned from normal life experiences…
When Davey, our first baby, our sweet little son was just crawling and toddling about, he was forever at my side in our small apartment. We read and played and bathed and did all of the usual Mommy and baby activities. The only little problem was that I also had to get some things done and the laundry was one of those things.
I would try to set him up with some toys, nearby, so I could get to it, but he was too curious. He wanted to know what I was doing and wanted to ‘help’. I would throw a shirt in the basket, then he would toddle over and throw something in the basket, too. It was super cute and it became a game.
He was enjoying it so much, that I started making separate piles of clothes just for him. He wanted to be in charge of throwing everything into the basket.
This activity / work, actually became ‘quality time’ for us. You know!… that quality time thing, we’re always trying to intentionally incorporate into our lives with our children. If we can pull it off, then we’d be perfect parents, right? Unfortunately, for some reason, it doesn’t always work.
In your daily life, ‘quality time’ doesn’t always work out the way you plan it, but don’t feel guilty! If your little dear is with you, and your work can be turned into a game, that’s a win!
I have 9 children, and laundry is a big deal! As each of my babies started to grow up, we worked together. I taught them how to sort the laundry, put it in the washer & dryer and then fold & put it away in drawers.
Truly, it was almost physically impossible for me to do it all myself, anyways. At first it was a great way to keep them amused and in sight!
Those little ones became quite proficient at the job. When one of my boys moved out, at least I knew that he could handle laundry, proficiently. Unplanned mission accomplished!
Here’s the Real Lesson!
My goal in life was not to teach my children to do laundry. Every kid grows up, moves out and figures out how to do his own laundry, right?
The lesson, for me, came when those toddlers grew up and realized that laundry was work! It was not actually a fun game and they didn’t want to play anymore.
That was my moment to realize that our game had taught them skills, but now it was my job to teach them good character and discipline.
Good character means: a. Don’t quit till the job is done. b. Do the job with excellence. c. Have a (relatively) cheerful attitude while doing the job;)
They were expected to contribute to the process of making our home run like a well-oiled machine, and laundry was certainly a big part.
When the game of laundry became the work of doing their own laundry, I still insisted that they continue to do their own.
If I had let them start whining about not wanting to do the job, I would have spoiled the child. To spoil means to ruin or allow to go bad, like a rotten tomato; very unattractive 😉 So don’t let your little dears become selfish and lazy because that would ruin them.
Teach your little dear that its a celebration to accomplish a job. Tell them that you’re proud of their work. Let them know that you’re grateful for their help, because the team (family) needs their participation to win the game of life!
This blog is about children, family, life lessons and giving. When you give a gift, and put a ribbon on top, you’ve just added value to your gift. You’ve shown how special you want the person to feel who is receiving the gift.
I want to give you the gift of encouragement as you live your life with your family and teach your own children how to succeed in life. It’s a process, you can do it!