Where did we get this concept that summers are a time of living carefree? You know, those lazy, hazy days of summer?
These long days of summer are to be enjoyed, but this mentality of 3 months of doing nothing but fun in the sun is wrong.
Summers should actually be our busiest time. This is the time to sow, weed, water and harvest.
Back in the agricultural days kids took a break from “school” to be able to help work the family fields and farms. They understood the work that it took to keep everyone alive.
Now do I think we should all be farmers? NO!
Do I want to be a farmer? Not necessarily.
Am I against vacations and celebrations? NO!
Do I think children should work long hard days like an adult? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
What I am against is deceiving children into thinking that childhood is all about frolicking from one child centered activity to another. That summers are all about being at the pool or laying for hours in front of a screen becoming brain-numb.
During this break from the usual school routine we should be giving them opportunities to grow in areas of new skills and responsibilities.
Depending on their maturity, by the age of 14-15 they should be working some sort of summer job, even if it is for a family member.
If it’s not possible for a summer job they should be learning some skills to help them become knowledgeable adults. Let them spend some time with someone who is good with a hammer, or small engine repair, or someone who is exceptionally good at cooking or photography… the list is endless. Think of skills that could make them money as they grow older.
Let them learn how to grow something, even if it is just one thing. Even if they fail at it big time they can learn from their mistakes and do better next time.
This idea that when summer gets here we throw off the shackles of responsibility and REAL LIFE is just crazy.
They have got to understand that they are a very important part of the family. They have to contribute in any way they can. No one feels like a part of the team if they don’t get to play on the field. Let your kids be a team player, on the most important team…. their FAMILY!
Don’t set your kids up for a miserable life dreading the grown up world, dreading the daily grindstone of work. Instilling a bad attitude about life, about work and about purpose is not loving your child. You are setting them up for failure.
Where to Start?
Slowly, from the time they are 2 and 3 years old teach them that responsibility, doing their duty is expected and appreciated. This starts with simple things such as, “Pick up that toy.” Followed by a big smile and applause. Their attitude will most likely reflect your attitude! Here is a list of age appropriate chores.
Every six months or so their responsibility in the home should increase. Teach them how to do more and give them new duties while maintaining the old ones. In time they will improve on their ability to do it efficiently… and correctly.
Equip them with knowledge.
Require responsibility and productivity while they are young so when the time comes for them to fly from your nest they will soar high! Don’t be the one responsible for clipping their wings.
Yes, we go to the pool, and the splash pad and other fun summer outings. We also balance those occasional activities with what is needful and wise. Just to save the haters time in writing about what a horrible mother I am.