Dr. Michelle Anthony, Author, Spiritual Parenting
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
In my home we chose not to have chores. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, you’re kids must have enjoyed that!” Well, actually we still implemented the concept, but instead of referring to them as chores (which they would see as something to “get done and out of the way”) we decided to call them acts of service. This might sound silly to you to think that we merely changed the name, but I wanted them to understand that what they were really doing was serving our family.
They needed not only to do what was required for daily living in our home, but also to ask above that, “What needs to be done? We live here in this home. We’re participants in this family. What else needs to be done?” So we assigned designated areas of service to our children. My daughter had cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, and washing dishes every other day, while my son had taking out the trash, mowing the grass, cleaning the spa, and washing dishes every other day. They needed to help with the groceries, the kitchen, the dog, the litter box, and their rooms, as needed. But I didn’t want them to think of those things as a list to complete; rather, I wanted them to see our family as interdependent.
I remember the morning when I knew the idea was taking root. Around six thirty a.m., I heard my son shouting in the hallway before school. Now, my son is not by nature a person who shouts or is easily upset, but that morning he was. As I lay in my bed I heard these words resonate through our upstairs hallway: “Mom! Chantel has not done her act of service, and now I have no underwear for school.” Although I then heard the argument that ensued as my daughter suggested that he was capable enough to wash his own underwear, I snuggled down in my bed with the satisfaction of knowing that not only had my son referred to the laundry as an act of service at six thirty a.m., but that they had both seen how dependent we were upon each other for our needs to be met.