Encouragement for Today - Oct. 13, 2006
Encouragement for Today
“Child Labor, Part 2”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Ephesians 4:16, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (NIV)
Do you fear implementing child labor in your home? Yesterday’s devotion discussed why it’s important to delegate various tasks around the house to your kids. Not only does it help out overwhelmed and exhausted moms, but it helps develop a good work ethic in the child as they get older.
This is a two-fold process. The first step is to teach your kids that working is, in fact, necessary to have the things that we want and need in life. Work is a by-product of man’s sin in the Garden of Eden and we are told by God Himself that we must participate in providing for ourselves by the “sweat of the brow” to eat. The second step is to work with excellence – to complete each task giving 100%. As Colossians encourages us: to work with all our hearts as if we’re working to please God. To work for God’s pleasure should require nothing short of excellence on our part.
The tricky part though is that teaching our kids the value of a good work ethic requires each of us to demonstrate it in front of them. So, I want you to consider a few things:
- What examples are you setting for your kids about working?
- Do your kids see you working around the house—going the extra mile to create an orderly, cozy home for them?
- Do they see you do everything as unto the Lord?
- Do they see you grumble and complain about the daily tasks required of you?
I know my kids have certainly seen me fall short of this in our home! I try to set the standard by upholding the same work ethic I expect of them, working alongside of them. We are a family that plays together, prays together, and works together. I want my kids to know that whatever I expect of them, I expect of myself.
You might want to think about this as you consider what your expectations for your children are. It is up to us to set the standard for our families. Our attitude about work will set the tone for the way our kids see it now, and later on in life.
Ephesians 4:16 describes the body of Christ, but it is also an accurate picture of how a Christian family should look—each member contributing to the best of his or her ability for the good of the family. Psalm 128 also describes God’s perfect design for a home and family. In Verse 2, we read, “You will eat the fruits of your labor.” No work, no reward. Above all things you are the model your children are looking to for how they pattern their lives as they get older. Demonstrating your own responsibility as an adult, and implementing ways for them to do the same within your home, will bring about an abundant harvest for everyone in your family to enjoy!
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, give me a happy heart when it comes to the way I work. Whether it’s at the office or in my home, I pray that I will set a positive example for my kids as the kind of worker you desire for them to be. May the fruits of my family’s labor be in abundance! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Spend time thinking of ways you can involve your kids in household chores. This will inspire them to work toward the good of your family. Ask God for creative ideas and incentives for a job well done. To help things run smoothly, be mindful of the following:
- Age appropriateness: Are there safety issues with chemicals and tools to consider?
- Give younger children chores to encourage the importance of contributing to the family, such as matching socks or feeding the pet.
- Do an internet search on “chores for kids” to find lists for children of all ages.
- Pick a good time to train them. Summer often works best when you have more free time.
- Play happy music while they work to motivate happy attitudes.
- Reward them.
- Everyday chores are required to live in our home, so our kids don’t get paid for those. We do, however, give them an opportunity to earn money with extra jobs or projects they choose to help with.
Do your hesitations about having your kids help around the house involve issues of control? Are you a perfectionist who refuses to delegate?
Or, do your hesitations involve issues of laziness? Do you dislike working so much that you don’t want to take the time to train your kids for a job well done?
1 Corinthians 4:12, “We work hard with our own hands.” (NIV)
Psalm 128:3, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.” (NIV)
Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (NIV)
1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (NIV)
The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst
The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis
Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope