Today is Mother’s Day. I’ve learned so many things from my mother about how to be a good mother. Here are just a few things I’ve learned about teaching children how to work:
1.Make work fun. When we had to clean the house, we would play army--with my mother being “The General”. She would give us a small job to do, we would salute and say, “yes Ma’am!”, then run off to do the job. When it was finished we would return to The General, salute and get a new job.
I tried making work fun for my children by hiding M&M’s under clothing and toys strewn all over the floor. The clean up would look daunting, but when you found candy while cleaning, it was much more fun!
2.Teach your children how to work. My sister and I were not washing the dishes up to my mother’s standards. So I vividly remember one night watching her as SHE washed the dishes while instructing us on how to do it correctly. “Wipe the counter after the dishes are washed,” she told us as she carefully wiped it. “Pick up the salt and pepper shakers on the stove and wipe under them,” she demonstrated.
I tried this technique with my children by writing step by step instructions on “how to clean the bathroom”. I demonstrated it for them, too. I wonder if they remember that day?
3.You get what you earned. One Saturday, as young children, we had to help rake up the leaves in the back yard. My brother kept messing around and not helping. After the job was done, my mother all gave us a glass of punch. Except my brother—he only got half a glass. He cried but was told that was all he had earned. It was a lesson for all of us.
4.Sometimes it’s okay to quit or Evaluate the situation. I had the most boring job in the world one summer when I worked at ASU. I called my mother during lunch one day because I just couldn’t take it anymore. She asked me some probing questions then said, “Well it doesn’t sound like the money you are making from this job is really worth what you have to go through. So quit.” What??!! I could actually quit? Other times in my life she had told me to “hang in there”. Lesson learned: every situation is different.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to work--and all the other things you taught me. I love you!