The debate over giving kids chores has raged on for decades now. Critics say it creates more work for the parents than it saves and distracts children from studying. Proponents often site the benefits of teaching children valuable household skills or the benefit of having a few extra hands doing the work needed around the house. You probably have seen articles mentioning chores as a way to teach responsibility and a work ethic. Did you know giving your kids regular chores can teach them some godly principles, too?
- Perseverance (2 Peter 1:5-15) – Anyone who has ever painted a room needing several coats understands the concept of perseverance. Big chores like painting require sticking with something until it is completed. Painting, much like the Christian life, can have fun moments, but in the end it takes inner strength to gut it out until the job is completed.
- Humility (Philippians 2:3-11) – Every child is different, but for me, nothing teaches humility like cleaning a toilet. Doing a simple, but unpleasant task can teach your child the importance to the family and ultimately of everyone of being humble enough to do the jobs that need to be done. No one may cheer about the clean toilet, but life would get rough around the house if no one cleaned it. Christians are often needed to do the thankless, grubby, unpleasant jobs in order to show God’s love to others. To be able to do that, your child will need to learn to be humble enough to do whatever is needed to spread God’s Word.
- Self Control (Galatians 5:23) – Completing just about any chore requires a bit of self control. Add having to complete the chore with a sibling, unmonitored by a parent and the need for self control can sky rocket. There will be times in your child’s Christian walk when others will frustrate him greatly. He will find Christians who are supposed to be working with him on a ministry, suddenly wanting to change or “ruin” everything. It can take every bit of self control available at times to avoid whacking someone with a Bible! Even avoiding temptation requires self control. Have your children complete a difficult chore together with a vague deadline and no direct adult supervision – you may just create a perfect experience for teaching the skills needed for self control.
- Doing Your Best (Colossians 3:23-24) – Often the biggest temptation while completing a chore is the temptation to cut corners so the chore is completed more quickly. Often parents let it slide thinking the battle isn’t worth it. While I don’t advocate expecting perfection from your children, don’t be afraid to expect chores to be completed well. Do we really want our churches and ministries run by people who are just throwing it together to get the job done? Shouldn’t we raise children who will be the type of Christian who does their very best for God? Not to earn salvation, but because they have been saved.
- Stewardship (James 1:17) Chores are a great way to teach kids how to take care of the blessings God has given your family. As your children work to take care of the things you have, remind them that making things last longer allows you to take the money you would have to spend to replace things more often and use it to serve others and share your faith. I think a case could also be made that failing to care for the gifts God has given us properly is in a very real way being disrespectful to God and His blessings.
So the next time you are tempted to do away with chores because they are more trouble than they are worth, think about all of the godly lessons those chores can help you teach your kids. Who knows, it may eventually actually take some work off of your plate too!