Around our house, Saturday is chore day. And complaining will get you way more than you bargained for.
"Okay everybody," I announce each Saturday A.M. with great enthusiasm around 8:30. "Chores at 9:00!"
"I hate Saturdays," at least one child usually responds.
"Work is a blessing," I remind them. "It means you have a full life; things to take care of; people who need you."
But the collective moaning reminds me that hard work is something that almost always has to be taught to kids. And they all bring different levels of work ethic to the table.
I remember when my husband was teaching one of our sons to work. We had leaves that needed to be raked and bagged--piles and piles of them. He was outside with one of the boys and they were raking. And bagging. For an hour they worked, with still so much more to go.
I could see through the sliding glass doors that the work session was unraveling. He didn't want to finish, yet his dad was driving him on. It tugged at a mother's heart.
I opened the door, stuck my head out, and opened my mouth to intervene. His dad saw it coming and held his hand up. "Let me raise the man," he said. I guess even Captain Fun has to get serious sometimes.
I pulled my head back in and shut the door. Hard work was something each kid must learn, and it was a hard lesson.
But when that son played football, his coach said he had never, never coached such a hard working kid. When he got his first job and every one after that, his boss bragged on what a hard worker he was. Still is.
Work is part of growing up, I tell my kids. Don't be afraid of it; embrace it. And hard work makes you stand out. Be intentional about it; take initiative.
Some of them still moan, but I don't let that stop me. After all, parenting is the most important work of all. And if you're intentional about it, you'll get more than you bargained for.